What's perhaps been more frustrating than the Knicks' level (or lack) of talent over the last decade has been the team's level of consistency.
Despite still putting promising players with evident upside on the court in recent years (David Lee, Jamal Crawford, Danilo Gallinari, etc.), none of these players represented winners. The Knicks of old could be seen beating a big-time team like the Celtics or Lakers one night, only to falter against a weaker team like the Bobcats the following night.
There's been no consistency at all. To be a contender, one not only has to learn how to compete against the better teams in the league, but also how to put away the worse-off ones with ease on a nightly basis.
If there was any reason as to why this season can and/or will be different than the frustrating ones of the past, perhaps the Knicks' consistency will be the key.
With that in mind, New York took on the lowly 1-12 Wizards at the Garden on Friday night. Coming off their first win of the season, Washington may have been looking to build some momentum to help them bounce back from a demoralizing start.
The Knicks didn't allow that to happen.
New York's balanced effort (paced by five scorers in double-figures) proved to be too much for Washington to handle, as the Knicks won by a score of 108-87.
Coach Mike Woodson has continuously preached defense as the key to winning games during his tenure in New York, and with good reason. But now, with a higher defensive mentality and intensity embedded into each of the Knickerbockers' brains, it's interesting to see them also thriving on the offensive end for different reasons.
Fifteen games into the season, the Knicks are beginning to learn each other's strengths on the offensive end. Each member of the squad seems to put forth an effort to make the rest of his teammates better.
Though Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith continue to be the true scoring stars for New York (each added 20 points on Friday night), it's interesting to now see Tyson Chandler being asserted inside as well. The team is featuring the big man on offense a bit more, getting him the ball in all the right spots. They're setting him up for easy buckets, and he's also making the effort to clean up his squad's missed shots to slam them back in. Such a combination has helped Chandler pour in the points as of late. He added 12 in the win.
With Melo and Smith representing the only "dominant" type scorers on the squad, it's important the Knicks find balanced contributions from others to help pace them. That's undoubtedly what Chandler is looking to do, as is Raymond Felton. Despite being a point guard, Felton is someone who likes to score the basketball....most of the time, he does it pretty well, and last night was no different. He too hit double-digits in points, adding 11 of his own.
As Felton looks to score, the Knicks need someone else to formally organize the offense with Jason Kidd still sidelined with back spasms. So far, Pablo Prigioni has risen to the challenge.
The Argentine rookie is an exciting and fun player to watch, so it's easy to understand why his teammates love playing with him too. In addition to dishing out 5 assists, Prigioni is also looking a bit more aggressive in terms of his scoring progress. He's pulling up to sink long range shots, and they're going down. He's been unable to do any wrong in the team's last two games.
After a hot start to the season, the Knicks struggled, dropping 3 of 4 games last week. Knickerbocker teams of years past would have let such a small slump get them down in the dumps. But this year is different. Displaying a different level of consistency, New York has instead followed through, looking to carry a certain of momentum with them throughout different contests, no matter who the opponent may be. Here's to hoping they keep it up.