The Knicks Season Gets Better and Better

No Carmelo Anthony is no problem for the Knicks

A thought came to mind sometime in the fourth quarter of Thursday night's remarkable, somewhat incomprehensible 112-92 Knicks win in Miami. 

One more of the team's 18 threes had just splashed into the basket and another group of Heat "fans" had left the arena leaving a Knick-centric crowd to cheer with glee when the camera shifted to the dapper Carmelo Anthony on the bench in his suit. The thought that popped up is a variation on one we've been wondering about all year about Amar'e Stoudemire: How in the world is it going to work once Melo is healthy again?

We kid, of course, but there were moments on Thursday night when it felt fair to wonder if that Knicks roster -- one without Melo, Amar'e or Iman Shumpert -- could actually win the NBA title. After all, they were in the process of outscoring the defending champs by 20 in the second half of a road game and doing it with ball movement and defense to rival the best of anything we've seen this season. 

Another, less comedic thought also came to mind. Glen Grunwald isn't getting nearly enough credit for the job he's done as Knicks general manager. 

The other general managers for New York teams are household names, whether because they do a great job or because they do a terrible job. Grunwald is a cipher, though, as the antics of his boss James Dolan overshadow everything he does. 

Grunwald never had a chance on that front because he replaced Donnie Walsh and conventional wisdom held that Walsh was the only brain in the operation before Dolan decided he didn't want Walsh to stick in the role a couple of years ago. And then came the Jeremy Lin departure, a move that came to pass in part because of a fit of pique by Dolan and further pushed Grunwald into the background. 

Now that the Knicks are 14-4 and players that Grunwald acquired just led a ransacking of the Heat, it's time that changes. Grunwald should get a pat on the back for a job very well done. 

Raymond Felton's splendid work running the offense on Thursday doesn't happen without Grunwald bringing him back and neither does having Jason Kidd as the living brain of the basketball team. Tyson Chandler and Steve Novak, both of whom played great on Thursday, are Grunwald hires, the much-mocked Rasheed Wallace move has been a masterstroke and it continues to astonish that Ronnie Brewer is playing on a minimum contract while Landry Fields is being played like someone who isn't lacking skill in every facet of the game. 

We keep expecting the shots to stop falling at such gargantuan rates, but the Knicks keep hitting them because they've built a team where everyone is trusting and believing that the next pass leads to an easy basket. On Thursday, the Heat battled that by playing a lot of 1-on-1 with LeBron James trying to win the game all by himself. 

That might sound familiar to Knicks fans who remember how things were last season and they might remember that it doesn't work out all that well. The deep, balanced Knicks have now routed a Heat increasingly reliant on James for everything twice this season, something that led to a bit of giddiness in the air as the fourth quarter moved to its happy conclusion.  

Giddiness isn't something normally associated with the Knicks, but there you have it. Make sure to thank Grunwald for his part in making it happen. 

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

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us