A look back at the knicks from Nov. 1-30
- Last Updated: 1:54 AM, December 1, 2012
- Posted: 1:29 AM, December 1, 2012
It was a November to remember — as the Knicks reigned as the NBA’s lone unbeaten team for nine straight days in the middle of the month.
The Knicks got off to 6-0 and 8-1 starts, playing unselfish and mistake-free on offense and raising their defensive intensity in the second half of games — with Carmelo Anthony as ringleader. It didn’t hurt that they lit up many nights with a 3-point barrage.
The Knicks took care of business last night against the hapless Wizards to finish the month at 11-4 for a .733 winning percentage that is their best November clip since 1993-94 (9-2). They also finished the month unbeaten at home (6-0).
The schedule wasn’t a piece of cake, though they got breaks along the way, facing the Mavericks and Sixers twice without their best players, Dirk Nowitzki and Andrew Bynum, respectively. The Knicks were 3-1 in those games. And they visited New Orleans on the night No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis rested a sore ankle.
Three of their four losses came on the second nights of back-to-backs on the road — to Memphis, Dallas and Brooklyn. They did have one inexcusable outing: the 131-103 “mauLin’’ in Houston last Friday.
Otherwise, the Knicks have looked mighty forceful during the first month of the Raymond Felton Era. They entered last night tied with Brooklyn for first place in the Atlantic Division, but have looked no less than the second best team in the Eastern Conference after Miami.
Carmelo Anthony wins it, but not based on his scoring average — 26.5 points — which ranked third in the league. Starting at power forward, Anthony is mixing it up with a lethal inside-outside game, putting to use the post moves big-man guru/Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon showed him when he came to Westchester before training camp began. His shooting percentage (a healthy 46.9) shows it. He came back sharp and lighter after playing in the Olympics. Anthony has been a strong rebounder (7.1 per game) and defended with energy and more passion than he’s shown in many years.
It has been an unmitigated disaster for Amar’e Stoudemire, who has made one appearance so far – an Oct. 19 preseason game in Montreal. Finally he went under the knife again on his left knee on Nov. 1. Media members saw Stoudemire on the court yesterday, shooting, jogging, looking primed for a return that a person close to him says could be around Christmas. Woodson has yet to commit to Stoudemire as the starting power forward.
December will be full of intrigue. The Knicks have a three-game road trip next week — the final two in Miami and Chicago, two big threats to an Eastern Conference title (if Derrick Rose is healthy). The next road game is to Brooklyn for a Dec. 11 rematch. (Brooklyn invades Manhattan on Dec. 19). But the highlights of the month may come in two dates with Mike D’Antoni’s Lakers of Kobe-Nash-Howard. D’Antoni makes his Garden return Dec. 13, fresh off comments indicating he regretted leaving Phoenix for NYC. Christmas Day in Los Angeles will be another spectacle, especially if Stoudemire is on the court.
With Stoudemire’s long-term absence, Woodson made the bold move of restructuring the starting lineup to feature Anthony at power forward by adding Jason Kidd as the starting shooting guard and shifting Ronnie Brewer, a natural two-guard, to small forward. The small alignment has been a gem and Woodson has stuck with it, even against bigger clubs. The ingenius maneuver boiled down to keeping J.R. Smith as Sixth Man. Woodson had a vision of Kidd and Raymond Felton as perfect complements in the backcourt as defenders and ball movers.Follow @NYPostsports