New York Knicks: 10 Season-Defining Matchups

Adam Friedgood@AfriedgoodContributor IIIJanuary 17, 2012

New York Knicks: 10 Season-Defining Matchups

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    This season has not gone at all like the Knicks players, analysts and fans had imagined it would.

    By this time, every supporter envisioned the Knicks playing like a unit that could compete for a championship.

    Instead, they look like a bunch of strangers who have never played together. They have no continuity on offense and don’t even seem to be putting in an effort on defense.

    Luckily for the Knicks, the toughest part of their schedule isn't until the end of the season.

    They may be able to steal some wins now versus the bottom half of the league while they're still learning how to play together. 

    Here are 10 extremely challenging matchups remaining on the Knicks’ schedule.

Knicks @ Bobcats, January 24

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    The Knicks just can’t seem to figure out the Bobcats.

    They’ve played each other twice this season, and the Knicks have struggled in both games, winning one and losing one. But they didn't even play well in the victory.

Knicks @ Heat, January 27

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    When the NBA released the schedule in December, the first thing I looked for was when the Knicks would play the Miami Heat. My hope was that they would be starting to jell by that point in the season.

    But that doesn’t appear to be the case.

    The Knicks' only hope, it seems, rests in the Heat's own struggles. They have lost three in a row.

Knicks vs Bulls, February 2

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    The Bulls are the top team in the East. Even with Derrick Rose missing a couple games because of a toe injury, they still have the best record in the Eastern Conference (12-3).

    The Knicks can only hope veteran point-guard Baron Davis will be back and in the starting lineup by the time this game comes around.

Knicks @ Celtics, February 3

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    You know the Celtics will be out for revenge when they play the Knicks for the second time this season.

    The altercation between Kevin Garnett and Bill Walker after the game on Christmas Day is an indication that this will be a tough, physical game.

    If the Knicks can beat the Celtics again, on their home court this time, that will say a lot.


Knicks vs Lakers, February 10

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    The Lakers are a scary team.

    The Knicks already lost by 17 to them, and Andrew Bynum was suspended for that game.

    Kobe Bryant is playing his best basketball since 2006. Unless he cools off, this may be the hardest game left on the Knicks schedule.  

Knicks @ Mavericks, March 6

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    After starting the season 0-3, the Mavericks are finally playing like defending champions, winning seven of their last eight games.

    This will be an extremely tough test for the Knicks, who always struggle against Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs.

    Since Nowitzki came into the league in 1998, the Mavericks are 18-6 against the Knicks. led by Nowitzki, who is averaging 23.4 points per game against them.  

Knicks @ Pacers, March 17

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    This is the second of a home-and-home for the Knicks and Pacers.

    The Pacers are off to a 9-3 start due to great teamwork and solid contributions from every player in the rotation. They have seven players averaging double figures.

    Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire will need to bring their “A' game if they want to beat the Pacers on back-to-back nights.

Knicks @ 76ers, March 21

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    The 76ers are one of the NBA's biggest surprise teams.

    Before the season started, most were debating whether the Knicks or Celtics would win the Atlantic Division.

    The Knicks won the first game between these teams, so they need to win again to prove it wasn’t a fluke and to stake their claim as the best team in the Atlantic Division..

Knicks @ Bulls, April 10

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    This is the second and final home-and-home on the Knicks schedule.

    Playing the Bulls two games in a row this late in the season will be a test to see if the Knicks are ready for the playoffs. This will be the fourth and final game between the teams this season.

    If they don’t look impressive versus them by now, you can probably kiss this season goodbye.    

Knicks vs Clippers, April 25

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    This is the last home game of the regular season.

    The Knicks should have a playoff spot locked up. But if they don’t, this will be a must-win game.

    Chris Paul and the Clippers love to fast break, so the Knicks' up-tempo style of play may be a disadvantage in this game.