Tuesday, November 20, 2012



After a one game return to NY, the Knicks are back on the road for the fifth time this season.  This is the first of a three game road trip where New York should be favored in each game.  The Knicks are 3-1 on the road so far this year, with gritty wins in Philly, San Antonio, and Orlando.  Their only loss was to arguably the best team in the league so far this year: Memphis.  New York should improve to 4-1 against an inexperienced but improving Hornets team.  New Orleans was awful last year, finishing with the third worst record in the league and the worst in the Western Conference.  That being said, they added #1 overall pick Anthony Davis, who brings a defensive presence and a near double-double average to the table.  Good news for the Knicks is that the Hornets are missing Eric Gordon, the key piece they received in return for Chris Paul, and by far their best offensive threat.

Anthony Davis' unibrow is something special.  However, his talent and consistency at Kentucky and so far this year are truly remarkable.  Davis was a member of the USA's gold-medal winning Olympic team this summer and is well acquainted with Knicks' stars Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler.  I expect the Knicks to focus their defense on shutting down Davis.  His talent, specifically offensive rebounding (he averages more than 3 per game), is something that Chandler should be well aware of after a summer of practicing with the rookie phenom.  Davis will come out with enthusiasm on this big stage, but I anticipate the Knicks will keep him in check.

The biggest change between this year and last is the mental toughness of this team.  Last year, with a number of young players, a run-and-gun offense, and a lack of accountability, the Knicks lost their composure far too often. This year, starting in training camp, Mike Woodson has established a defensive identity with this team that will carry them all season.  A lot of it can be attributed to the personnel adjustments made by GM Glen Grunwald, but I believe the biggest change has been Carmelo Anthony's accountability and attitude in general.  When NY signed Tyson Chandler, everybody that follows the league knew that he would bring consistency on defense every single time he's on the floor.  However, the fact that the team's superstar -Carmelo - is playing with the same consistency as Tyson every night forces everyone on the team to follow suit.  Kudos to Mike Woodson for managing Carmelo's ego and bringing an infectious attitude to the locker-room.

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