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Knicks On The Way Up, Face Tough Test On Road Trip

By Bill Pritchard

The Knicks got a big win on Sunday night, beating the world champion Boston Celtics 100-88 in New York. Tonight, they face a team at the opposite end of the spectrum, in the Oklahoma City Thunder - aka “The Team Formerly Known as the Sonics”, aka “The Clay Bennett Hijackers”, or in three years aka “The Team Kevin Durant Used to Play For.” (Sorry, but I still think it’s wrong that there is no basketball in Seattle.) Anyway… the Knicks should have another good game tonight, and should look to come away with the win in OKC. This is the start of a four game Western Conference road trip, with stops in Dallas, Houston and New Orleans.

The Thunder come into tonight’s game with a 4-30 record. So not only do they enter with the league’s crappiest logo and uniforms, but they have the worst record as well. They rank 27th in the league in points allowed, and that statistic combined with the number of Knicks wins when they score over 100 points (12 out of 13 total wins), should result in a Knicks victory tonight. Winning tonight’s matchup may give the team the spark they need to beat some of these tough Southwest Division teams coming up on the schedule.

The Knicks are getting better as the season progresses, from both a player and coaching standpoint. I hated the idea of Mike D’Antoni coaching the team. I told my friend Josh that he was overrated and should have gone to Chicago instead. His Phoenix Suns teams scored at will, but didn’t play a lick of defense. (A lick? Am I that old already?) I thought the same thing would happen in New York, but with worse results. I can now see that he really knows what he is doing, and he is getting results. He is winning games, and making Knick basketball more exciting to watch again.

The talent was in place last year (ex: Nate Robinson, David Lee, Wilson Chandler), but they got terrible results from a terrible coach. D’Antoni was brought in this year, along with players like Al Harrington and Chris Duhon, and the league is taking notice. I was at the November 29th game against the Warriors, and it was unbelievable. David Lee had career highs in points (37) and rebounds (21), and Chris Duhon had an all time team record of 22 assists. Nate Robinson has begun his transition from “Rising Star Dunk Champ” to being a household name and ESPN nightly highlight. After being in the NBA’s basement, things are finally beginning to look up in the Apple.

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