On Sunday, the New York Knicks were able to extend their winning streak to 12 and, with the win in Oklahoma City, cemented themselves as the second-best team in the East behind the Heat. Before their win over the Thunder, the streak was misleading as the Knicks took advantage of favorable situations.
A third of their 12 wins came against Toronto, Charlotte and Orlando, who are three of the bottom four teams in the East. Fans will defend the streak by saying that six of the wins came against teams in the playoffs, but this is where the streak was misleading.
When the streak started against Utah, the Jazz were in the playoffs but have since fallen out. They also have two wins against Boston, but both those wins came against a team without Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett. They also have a win against a Miami Heat team that again was without stars LeBron James and Dwayne Wade.
The marquee win before Sunday was on March 27 when they beat the Memphis Grizzles in Madison Square Garden, but even that had questions as the Knicks were outscored 60-39 in the second half. Carmelo Anthony and company put those questions to rest, though, with an impressive victory over Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The two things that stand out most from their win on Sunday was the balanced scoring and their ability to crash on the offensive boards. Anthony was once again the dominant presence on the offensive side of the ball with 36 points on 29 shots, but he got help from role players as the Knicks had five other players score in double digits.
The other reason they were able to win was their dominance in offensive rebounds, beating the Thunder in this category 19 to 10. This stat was fairly surprising considering the Knicks were shorthanded in the front court with Kenyon Martin and Marcus Camby sitting out. The Thunder have a big frontcourt that is dominated by Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins, but Anthony was able to get the better of them with nine offensive rebounds.
It remains to be seen how long this streak can go on for, but with the win over the Thunder today, they erased any questions around the legitimacy of their winning streak.