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The previous four keys I listed for Knicks success had to do with offense and continuity, but everyone knows you cannot win in the playoffs without defense. This team has shown the potential to be a good defensive team at times (see: wins against Miami, Atlanta, New Orleans and a close loss to Boston).
Until they bring defensive effort and intensity nightly, however, they may be stuck in that five to eight-seed range and going on the road to a better team’s stadium in the playoffs. It all starts with Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire.
If those two buy in and put forth maximum effort on the defensive end of the floor night in and night out, the rest of the team will have no choice but to follow suit.
They need only to look at the Boston Celtics for an example of how this can work. Right from the get-go, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen worked on the defensive end of the floor, and Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins then emerged as premier defenders at their positions.
Working hard, being held accountable and putting forth maximum effort on every possession defensively is the only way the Knicks can have a sustained playoff run.
No matter what happens with the offense, no matter how much firepower the Knicks have on the court, if they don’t play D, they wont be making a run this June.