After the New York Knicks went 6-5 in February, the month of March is going to be instrumental in showing us if the Knicks are ready to compete.
The Knickerbockers have a grueling schedule ahead of them as they’re set to play 18 games over the next month.
This could be a problem for the Knicks’ aging roster. During New York's 109-105 win against the Golden State Warriors, Mike Woodson left Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler on the court for 40 and 42 minutes, respectively.
If they have too many of those types of games during the rest of the season, the Knicks are prone to losing one of those two to an injury before the playoffs.
Here are the five most important games on the Knicks’ March schedule. The games are listed in chronological order as they appear on the schedule.
It all starts with extending the current winning streak to three games. The Knicks were in a slump in the middle of last month and dropped to the No. 3 seed for a bit before they were able to recapture it after beating the Warriors.
The Wizards are still hovering around the bottom of the standings and they’re a far cry from the playoffs.
Still, Washington has gone 7-3 over the past 10 games, and more importantly, they beat the Knicks 106-96 last time they met on February 6.
Nevertheless, if the Knicks’ ambitions involve getting the No. 2 seed in the conference then they have to be able to beat teams like the Wizards without exerting themselves too much.
It almost seems like it happened in the distant past, but the Knicks and the Heat have met twice this season, and the Knickerbockers won a resounding victory both times.
In fact, the groundwork for the Knicks’ great start to the season was laid out on opening night when they beat the Heat 102-82. In that game, the Knicks went 19-of-36 from behind the arc.
The next time they met, the Knicks were slightly less efficient from the three-point line, going 18-of-44, but nevertheless they beat the Heat 112-92.
A lot of things have changed since those games. For starters, the Heat are on a 12-game winning streak while the Knicks are 7-5.
If the Knicks are to continue their streak against the Heat, their three-point shooting needs to be perfect.
If the Knicks make it all the way to the NBA Finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder is the team most likely to be the opponent.
Although the Knicks currently do not exactly look like a contender, you can be sure that pundits will be trying to hype this game as a potential Finals matchup for the sake of ratings and controversy.
This is the first time these two teams are playing this season, and it’s going to be interesting to see how the Knicks match up against Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Durant has had two triple-doubles within the past four games, and the Knicks will have to find a way to stop him if they’re going to win this game.
Not only was this the beginning of a four-game losing streak for the Knicks, but the game also raised some questions regarding the depth and the resilience of their roster.
This is arguably the most challenging game on the Knicks’ schedule in March.
Unlike the games against the Heat and the Thunder, the Knicks will not have their loyal fans behind them at the Garden. Instead, they’re going to enter the Staples Center where the Clippers are 23-6 so far.
For the Knicks to beat the Clippers, they’re going to need more from their bench than the disappointing 15 points they got during the last matchup.
The Knicks can’t base their game plan around Carmelo Anthony having another 40-plus-point performance again (although that would be much appreciated), so more players will have to contribute.
The resurgence of the New York Knicks over the past few years and the decline of the Boston Celtics has turned this into a true rivalry again.
Every time these two teams meet the temperature on the court is high.
During the teams’ first meeting this season in January, Anthony tried to confront Kevin Garnett on the Celtics’ team bus after a verbal altercation on the court.
The Knicks lost that game 102-96, but just 17 days later they won the rematch 89-86.
Many thought that the Celtics would be struggling without their star point guard, Rajon Rondo. However, Boston is holding on to the No. 7 seed and could be a likely playoff opponent for the Knicks.