Thursday, April 12, 2012

Asian America’s Team: Last Push for Playoffs

There are now only eight games left in the regular season for the New York Knicks after surviving a pivotal three-game stretch with two against the Bulls and one against the Bucks. Thanks to the win in Milwaukee last night, the Knicks move two games up over the Bucks for the last spot in the playoffs, which would set up for a round one matchup with the conference-leading Bulls -- ironically enough, the Knicks’ only loss of the three games was against a Chicago team that was missing their star player, Derrick Rose. Hopefully the two-game cushion over the Bucks will be enough down the stretch as both teams only have three games left against playoff-caliber teams, so essentially, if the Knicks just win the games they should win, it should be smooth sailing to the postseason.

So what have we learned from the last three games about this team? The Knicks showed a lot of grit and heart when their backs were pushed up against the wall. Besides blowing a huge lead on Sunday and failing to show up for the second quarter on Tuesday, the Knicks have been playing great basketball. The defensive intensity has grown ever since Mike Woodson took over this team, and I guess it helps to have Amare Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin on the bench when it comes to defense. But on the other side, the Knicks are missing the pair's offensive abilities, which has forced Carmelo Anthony to carry even more of the load.

As of now, the first round draw for the Knicks are the Chicago Bulls, and from the last two games we know that it will be a challenge. The Knicks continue to get manhandled on the boards, giving up tons of offensive rebounds. If Amare doesn’t return, there is a good chance that Carmelo will be playing the power forward position. This has made life difficult for the Bulls, and if that trend continues, it may force Chicago to play a smaller lineup. Knicks will need Iman Shumpert to play major minutes if Rose is healthy; he seems to be the only guy that can disrupt the MVP enough to force a consistent amount of turnovers against this fundamentally sound Bulls team. In order to be successful, the Knicks will also need their shooters -- J.R. Smith, Steve Novak, and Baron Davis -- to make open 3s. Lastly, if the Knicks are going to make this potential series interesting, Carmelo will need to score over 30 points a night with a high shooting percentage. Carmelo without Amare and Lin is basically the only guy that can get himself a shot whenever the Knicks need it. This was the case on Sunday, when he silenced me as a critic and reminded me why we traded our whole team for him. Carmelo is clutch, and from now on I will stop asking the Knicks to trade him back to Denver for Danilo Gallinari.

With all the speculation of potential playoff matchups, the Knicks still have to focus on winning the final eight games. Making the playoffs is priority number one -- the last thing Knick fans need is to see another lottery pick go to the Rockets from the T-Mac deal. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that by the time the next article gets published, the Knicks will have locked up a playoff spot.

Next Asian America’s Team topic: Iman Shumpert

Photos and video courtesy of the NBA, Debby Wong/US PRESSWIREGary Dineen/Getty Images, and YouTube


That was a huge win in Milwaukee last night. Melo looks like a completely different player post D'Antoni (but I won't get into that).

I will say though, Monta single handedly took Iman out of any potential all-defensive teams he would have been on =]

Huge win, can't blame Iman too much, Monta is top 10 when it comes to offense talent. So when he's on I don't think anyone is stopping him.

But glad you think Iman should be considered for the an all defensive team, not bad for a rookie.

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...