The Knicks Stay Perfect - NBC New York

The Knicks Stay Perfect

The excitement grows with a third straight double digit win



    Meeting Veterans’ Special Needs in Hospice
    It's fun to be a Knicks right now.

    It's Election Day, which is a day devoted to the promise of hope, change and the prospect of a better tomorrow coming for the masses. 

    The Knicks aren't on the ballot, but there's little doubt that they would carry New York City as easily as they've won their first three games of the season. They gave up the first 10 points of Monday night's game against the 76ers and then decided to put things in gear for another outstanding, well-rounded performance that gave them a 110-88 win. 

    It is the first time in history that a Knicks team has won its first three games of the season by double-digit scores and Game Three was just as impressive as the first two. The Knicks held the Sixers to 33.7 percent shooting, they turned the ball over just seven times, hit all 19 of their free throws and piled up 24 assists in another overwhelming statement about the team they plan to be this season. 

    Carmelo Anthony led the way with 21 points, but, once again, the important things were the way he passed out of double teams and helped on defense. It wasn't quite as efficient or active a game as the one on Sunday, but it checked all the important boxes and gave his teammates plenty of room to do their thing. 

    And do it they did. Ray Felton sparked the offense in the first half and made one move of such astounding quickness that he was called for traveling on the basis that point guards shouldn't be able to abuse three defenders on a single play without doing something illegal. 

    Tyson Chandler flirted with jump shooting before reaffirming his relationship with the area right around the basket and looked much healthier than he did while battling a touch of the flu on Sunday. Ronnie Brewer banged home three threes while playing more of the excellent defense he was expected to provide.

    All the focus has been on Melo's adoption of sound basketball principles, but J.R. Smith's turnaround may be even more astounding. Smith still takes some nutty shots (over the backboard, 40-footers), but he also dished out five assists, grabbed seven rebounds and finished a nifty pass from Pablo Prigioni with a soaring dunk that sent electric shocks up the spine. 

    And, finally, there was Rasheed Wallace, the human victory cigar and pure joy machine who has become a beloved member of the Knicks as fast as anyone in history. Mike Woodson actually turned to Wallace when the game was in the third quarter, which seemed early until Sheed rattled home two threes and defended the rim like a player who has more to offer than a reason for Knicks fans to stick around to the end of blowouts. 

    One thing the last year of Knicks basketball should have made abundantly clear is that any brief snapshot of a season can't be taken at more than face value because things can change far too quickly. Three games means very little when there are 79 more to play and we've still got plenty to find out about these Knicks.

    Having said that, there isn't much reason to think that the Knicks can't keep doing these things. Playing defense, moving the basketball and avoiding turnovers don't add up to reinventing the wheel, even if it might feel like it after the last decade of Knicks basketball. 

    You can accept that the shooting won't always be this hot and that teams will adapt to the new Knicks in the coming weeks while also noting that decades of evidence proves that this is a perfectly sustainable approach to playing basketball. This isn't some unknown from the end of the bench pulling off the inexplicable, it's the right way to do things and it is paying off handsomely on the court.

    You don't need to wait until all precincts have reported to know that this is change New York believes in with all its heart.  

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.