Whether you’ve been aware of it or not, the Knicks’ schedule hasn’t actually been to difficult to date, something that the Wall Street Journal’s Chris Herring points out is about to change, and change dramatically:
Of the 32 games the Knicks will play after this month’s All-Star Game, 19 are against teams that would make the playoffs if the season ended today. Twenty of the games are against teams with re cords of .500 or better—more than any other team in the league—and 18 of them will be on the road.
This made last night’s loss to the Wizards particularly vexing — I was certainly vexed, I may even still be slightly vexed — as the Knicks just aren’t a team that can afford to give away too many gimmes to teams like the Wiz. Yeah, John Wall’s return made them slightly more dangerous, but that’s only slightly more than the completely undangerous team they were before his return, though the dude is outrageously fast. Seriously, I can still see him sort of blurring across the screen.
But the point is, that with the top seed in the East still very much in reach, these are games they can’t afford to lose, as I think home court would mean more to the Knicks than it would, say, Miami.
And not to overreact too much, as every team is allowed an off night, but this Knicks team is not really one that’s earned the right to pick their spots. They’re not a defending champ, or a perennial playoff team grinding through the doldrums of a long season. The Knicks are still relatively new to this whole top-of-the-standings thing, it should still be relatively exciting.