he True Fans Bleed Blue and Orange: Knicks Must Capitalize On Soft Scheduleh

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Knicks Must Capitalize On Soft Schedule

At the start of the season the Knicks' brutal schedule caused a lot of controversy. They played five of their first seven games on the road, and after a 2-5 start the Knicks were immediately put in a hole to start the 06-07 campaign. However, the Knicks start the all-star break embarking on a nine game stretch in which they play nine teams with a record of .500 or worse. Five of the nine games are also at MSG, where the Knicks have a .500 record themselves, despite starting 1-6. Their first opponent is the Orlando Magic, a team the Knicks completely dominated earlier this season. The Magic may be a different team then the Knicks first saw, because Grant Hill and ex-Knick Trevor Ariza, may be returning from their injuries. In addition, Jameer Nelson went into the all-star break suffering from flu-like symptoms, but I saw him with Dwight Howard during the Dunk Contest. Even if Ariza and Hill return from their respective injuries the Knicks should still pick up the victory. The Magic lost 12 of their last 17 games entering the All-Star break, and the Knicks are coming off of a blowout loss on the road, so they should be hungry to get a home victory.
After the Magic the Knicks head out to Philadelphia tomorrow night to play the lowly Sixers. Then Friday night the Knicks play the Milwaukee Bucks who may have Michael Redd and Charlie Villanueva returning for them within the next few days. The Knicks blewout the Bucks earlier this season, and then lost a few weeks later at Milwaukee on a Mo Williams circus shot with a few seconds remaining.
After the Bucks game the Knicks head to NJ who may be without Jason Kidd. The hot rumor right now is Jason Kidd to the Lakers. Then next Monday the Knicks play the Heat, the toughest team in the next nine games. The Heat look primed for a second half run, so the Knicks will need to play very good basketball to be D-Wade's Heat. Following the Heat game the Knicks head to Boston next Wednesday. Then the Knicks will play the Warriors at home, Atlanta on the road the next night, and then finally Seattle at home three days later. Assuming Jason Kidd is dealt the only game that should give the Knicks trouble in that stretch other than the Heat is the Warriors. However, the game is at home and the Knicks should play with a purpose, and try to blow out the Warriors.

The Knicks must play well the finally 29 games of the season, but especially these first nine games. The Knicks need to go at worst 6-3 these next games, and set a tone for the rest of the season, and hopefully the playoffs. The Knicks are not in the playoffs if the season ended today, and it appears that the Nets GM wants to get rid of Kidd or Carter before their value is gone. hat leaves the Knicks, Magic, and Heat playing for the final two spots in the east. Assuming the Heat earn the final spot the Knicks will have to outplay their opponent tonight if they wish to make the playoffs.

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