The Knicks Take Another Shot at a Winning Record - NBC New York

The Knicks Take Another Shot at a Winning Record

Will the sixth time be a charm?



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    If there's one common thread throughout this topsy-turvy Knicks season, it's that the team is constantly banging its head against the glass ceiling that is a winning record.

    They started the year 6-5, but ever since they lost to the Thunder on January 14th, the Knicks have been at or below .500. In that span they've had five different chances to get their record back on the happy side of par, but they've lost every single time.

    The losses have come in a variety of different flavors. The first one was to the Magic on Martin Luther King Day when Ryan Anderson buried a slew of three pointers and Carmelo Anthony couldn't buy a bucket en route to a 102-93 loss.

    Since then they've lost to the Hornets at the height of Linsanity, to the Nets when Anthony returned to join Jeremy Lin, to the Heat just before the All-Star break and to the Celtics in the gut-crushing Sunday afternoon game that Paul Pierce sent to overtime with a three late in the fourth. That loss sent the team into the tailspin that eventually cost Mike D'Antoni his job and now, after winning seven of eight, they face the Magic again for another shot at a winning record.

    There's not much to like about the Knicks' chances of breaking the skid on Wednesday night. Amar'e Stoudemire remains out and Lin will miss his second straight game as well, leaving only Anthony and the rest of the team that somehow navigated their way to a win over Milwaukee on Monday night.

    Anthony is damaged goods as well thanks to the groin injury he suffered in that win, but he's going to play and the Knicks need him to play as well as he did on Monday to have any chance. It will be tougher this time because Orlando is a better team defensively and because Dwight Howard alone will take away the massive rebounding advantage that the Knicks rode to that win.

    They've won some rock fights since Woodson took over as coach, but the offensive flow we saw on Monday simply isn't going to get it done over the long haul. They've got to find some way to get people other than Anthony involved, which is a tall order given how reckless Baron Davis is with the ball in his hands.

    It would help if they could devise some ways to get Steve Novak open looks from three, something that's disappeared as the rest of the league has figured out that you can't just leave Novak open beyond the arc. As with everything else this year, it's going to take an ability to improvise on the fly and it's hard to imagine the Knicks can do that yet again this season.

    No harder to imagine at any of the other points that they've pulled the trick, however, so we'll just let it all play out. Should it play out the right way, the Knicks will be back on the sunny side of the street for the first time in almost three months and we'll be ready to stop doubting their ability to adapt.

    If not, well, there's always next time.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.