Carmelo Anthony to New York: Breaking Down the Knicks 10 Biggest Remaining Games
Now that the Carmelo Anthony trade is final, it's time to look at what New York needs to accomplish to get back in the talks with Eastern Conference elites.
The easy answer to that question is simple: win.
However it's going to take time, effort and practice.
The Knicks sit at 28-26 right now, good enough for sixth place in the East.
They will need to gel quickly if they want to rise up a few spots before the playoffs.
So what are the biggest games for New York?
Here is peak at the 10 biggest games the Knicks have left on their schedule.
10. At Miami on February 27th
It's easy to assume the new look Knicks playing the new look Heat will automatically be a big game.
In reality, it isn't.
The Knicks and Heat square off in just the Knicks third game after acquiring Carmelo Anthony, giving them very little time to mesh.
The game is likely to get national media and tons of hype added onto it.
Certainly it will be a fun game to watch with so many stars on the court, but the outcome might not be pretty.
If Miami's big three are all healthy for the game, it won't be very close.
Learning a new system and adapting to new teammates will take time, and New York fans need to realize that.
Don't put much emphasis on this game New York fans, if any at all.
9. At Boston on April 13th
This game is almost the opposite of the one versus the Heat.
The Knicks play at Boston on April 13th, the last regular season game of the year.
While it's nice to have good momentum rolling into the playoffs, Boston will most likely be already looking ahead.
With so much age and experience on the Celtics roster, don't be surprised if their main players play very few minutes.
Several Celtics (Garnett, Allen, Pierce) might even sit out the game to rest their legs for the postseason.
New York will definitely want to win this game, but they know Boston won't care too much for it.
8. At Orlando on March 1st
This is the first of three times the Knicks play the Magic in the rest of the season.
Being only a few days away, it isn't so much of a huge game either.
It will be the Knicks fourth game together after the trade deadline, giving them little time to prepare for it.
The game is just a couple days after the Knicks travel to Miami, meaning they will have a tough road trip to go on.
It would be a big win for New York to pick this one up in Orlando, but don't expect them to.
Dwight Howard is likely to tear apart the Knicks extreme lack of centers. New York will need to formulate a new plan on how to guard Howard after this debacle in Orlando.
Expect New York to lose this one, but they will have their chances for revenge twice at home versus the Magic afterwards.
7. Versus and at Indiana on March 13th and 15th
These games versus Indiana will be overlooked by fans for many reasons.
The Pacers have not been a team in recent years to be reckon with.
However, these games are important.
Not once during the rest of the year do the Knicks play a team back-to-back.
Even though the Pacers aren't a high quality team, they might be in the playoffs.
Every game is crucial if New York plans on moving up the Eastern Conference standings, and these two are no different.
It's almost as if they are playing a tiny playoff series.
They play the Pacers at home, and then two days later at Indiana. This is the general format of the playoffs, and New York needs to get used to seeing the same team more than one game in a row.
Take care of business in these two New York, and don't underestimate the sneaky Pacers.
6. At Atlanta on March 6th
This game is important for several reasons.
The Hawks are currently the team ahead of New York in the Eastern Conference standings.
If New York is serious about moving up in the East, they have to steal this one in Atlanta.
It certainly won't be easy though.
This is only the seventh game after the big trade in New York, which doesn't give them a whole lot of time to prepare for a game of this magnitude.
This one could come down to key matchups between the All-Stars on the floor.
Amar'e Stoudemire will matchup against Josh Smith and Carmelo Anthony will likely play against Joe Johnson on the perimeter.
New York really needs to win a game like this to move up in the standings.
5. At Home Versus Chicago on April 12th
Too bad this game is the second to last of the regular season. New York versus Chicago at a more convenient time would be huge for both franchises.
This is the only time the Knicks square off against Derrick Rose and company for the rest of the regular season.
If New York fails to move up any spots in the standings, as of today they will face Chicago in the first round. Talk about a heck of a playoff matchup.
All Star power forwards Carlos Boozer and Amar'e Stoudemire will go toe to toe down low.
Derrick Rose will face up against Chauncey Billups, and Carmelo Anthony will likely be guarded by Luol Deng and Keith Bogans.
If the standings in the East are very close, expect New York to go all out to win this one.
This game should be a great one, unless either team decides to shut it down early before the playoffs.
4. At Dallas on March 10th
This is a huge game for New York.
Dallas is the only legitimate team the Knicks play from the Western Conference in the second half.
It will be very interesting to see how they matchup against a team like the Mavs.
The Knicks (unless they make another trade) will have no answer for Tyson Chandler down low. On the flip side, Dallas does not have a bigger wing that's able to guard Carmelo Anthony at an effective level.
Adding to the matchup dilemma, Dirk Nowitzki will be guarding Amar'e Stoudemire. These two are about as opposite as you can get from a power forward standpoint.
This game rolls in 10 games after the trade sending Carmelo to New York. By 10 games, a team like New York should start to develop some serious chemistry.
Both teams are fighting for playoff position, so expect this to be a highly recognized one on the nationwide scale.
3. At Home Versus Orlando on March 23rd
This will be the second meeting between the new look Knicks verse the Magic.
Expect this one to be completely different.
It's 17 games after the All-Star break, giving New York more than enough time to gel as a unit.
Once again, New York needs crucial games like this one to move up in the East.
Orlando will be coming into Madison Square Garden this time, and has to be prepared for a completely different animal.
Anthony, Stoudemire and company will be a vicious team at this point fearing no one in their way.
The fans at Madison Square Garden have to be pumped up for this one.
If New York wants to be a serious playoff threat they have to be able to beat top notch teams like Orlando.
2. At Home Versus Orlando on March 28th
If it weren't for the rivalry between New York and Boston, this would be the biggest game for the Knicks.
New York has three games to plays against Orlando and this one is the most important.
The Garden will be absolutely rocking for the third matchup of the second half between New York and Orlando.
Like the other times they have played, New York will have to find a solution to at least slow down Dwight Howard.
Expect Mike D'Antoni to throw a few different looks at Howard.
The Knicks will also probably run the fast break even more than usual this time around.
They simply can't let Dwight Howard get back on defense comfortably and clog up the entire paint.
Billups, Anthony and Stoudemire will have to push the ball up the court before Orlando can get set on defense.
Knicks fans need to go ahead and circle the date on their calenders; it will be a big one.
1. At Home Versus Boston March 21st
This matchup is the only relevant time the Knicks play Boston in the rest of the regular season.
Expect this game to have tons and tons of media coverage. The NBA has been wanting a classic rivalry like New york verse Boston to be significant for quite some time now.
The NBA will be getting their wish.
Both teams are loaded with big time names.
The teams square off at the mecca of all arenas: Madison Square Garden.
Expect Spike Lee to be in his usual spot courtside, yelling at Boston players while supporting Knicks players.
Multiple celebrities will be on hand to witness a game like this.
Just like playing Orlando, Chicago and Atlanta, New York needs to prove they can at least hang with top teams from the East.
This is easily the biggest game of the rest of the regular season for New York. Good luck, Knicks fans; you might just need it.