New York Knicks fans are rightfully glowing following their team's surprise 15-9 start and second place position in the Atlantic, just four games behind the reigning conference champion Boston Celtics. The last time the Knicks had a .625 win percentage after 24 games was 1999, Patrick Ewing's last season with the franchise.
Orange and blue faithful should enjoy this for all it's worth. Hell, throw a party. Because the reality is the schedule is about to get rough and likely show the Knicks still have ways to go before even getting a good whiff of Boston's rear end.
In 19 of their next 30 games leading up to the All-Star break, the Knicks will face: San Antonio (19-3) twice, the Lakers (16-7) twice, Miami (16-8) three times, Oklahoma City (16-8) twice, Atlanta (15-9) twice, Boston (18-4), Dallas (18-4), Denver (14-8), Chicago (13-8), and play on the road against Orlando (15-8), Utah (17-7), Portland (12-11) and Phoenix (11-12).
Clearly, Knicks fans should be concerned, if not for the ugly truth only two of the team's 15 wins came against foes that had a .500 record or better (Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Hornets). The rest? Against teams with a combined win percentage of .291.
Get that clear. 13 of the Knicks' 15 wins came not against middle-of-the-road teams like, say, Indiana (11-10), but rather the worst of the worst: Sacramento (5-15), the Clippers (5-15), Minnesota (6-17), New Jersey (6-17), Washington (6-16) twice, Detroit (7-17), Golden State (8-15), Charlotte (8-14) twice and Toronto (8-15) three times.
And some of these wins have been close. The Knicks needed two overtimes to beat the Pistons. Two wins against the Raptors were decided in the final seconds (one involving a Ray Felton three that bounced off the iron five times before dropping in). Both wins against the Bobcats came in the last seconds as well.
So, how good are the Knicks? We'll soon find out. Either way, the fact fans can once again watch pro basketball in New York is worth celebrating.