Even in a shortened NBA season, the various plots can twist and turn, and one team's fortunes can look so bright at one point, only to reverse direction as the season wears on.
Early in the season the story of the NBA—especially in the East—was the unexpected resurgence of the Philadelphia 76ers. The once-proud franchise that had fallen on hard times was experiencing some very good times.
The Sixers were among the best teams in the league. Spencer Hawes seemed like he would be an automatic double-double every night and new coach Doug Collins had the team taking defense very seriously.
The Knicks, on the other hand, were a nice-looking ship without a rudder. Head coach Mike D'Antoni had an offensive system in place designed to put up impressive point totals.
The only problem was that the system requires an above average point guard. The Knicks started the season with a combination of Toney Douglas, Iman Shumpert and Mike Bibby manning the point.
Adding fuel to the fire was that the offensive system requires that nearly every player buy into it. The Knicks' best player on offense, Carmelo Anthony, didn't appear to be that dedicated to carrying out D'Antoni's plans.
Three months later, a lot has changed. The Knicks are surging; the Sixers are struggling. What facilitated this reversal in fortune, and will it continue?