A win over the Mavericks in Madison Square Garden has been the highlight of the Linsanity phenomenon. The Knicks however have been in a holding pattern since and need to get their playoff push back on track tonight in Dallas.
More than a mental bump
For all the hype of the early winning streak, the Knicks have been unable to get above .500. NBA betting fans know New York should be a lock for playoff Basketball but the prospect of the #8 seed is anything but appealing. Should New York finish any lower than #6 in the East, the Knicks will face one of the Bulls and the Heat in the opening round of the playoffs. That’s almost a guaranteed early exit from the post-season for the second year straight. There would also be the serious prospect of another 4-0 sweep. Such a blow would undo much of the goodwill built up over the past month. The team that won the hearts of the Big Apple would once again be just another unreliable bunch of losers. Progress matters to New York this season. A favorable playoff seeding is vital in order to achieve it.
Jeremy Lin had a huge day against Dallas before the All Star break but the phenomenon has hit a rough patch. In back-to-back road losses Lin has gone 20 of 27 from the floor dishing out just 8 dimes while giving up 14 turnovers. That’s just ugly. The aging Mavs roster however will probably surrender more room to Lin on the floor, giving the point guard more opportunities to create chances.
Getting both Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire in the game is vital. Though Melo was expected to have issues working with Lin, the former Nugget has adapted well to the point guard’s presence. The return of Melo has however proven a challenge for working Stoudemire into the game. Tyson Chandler’s presence will once again be huge, literally and figuratively. With Brendan Haywood doubtful for Dallas, Chandler will prove a big presence around the rim for New York.
Monday night’s loss at Oklahoma City will have drained Dallas emotionally. In large part it was a game they played well in despite missing Haywood but they still came out with the L. Back to back games remain an issue for Dallas, largely due to the age profile of the Mavs’ best players. All of which has me leaning towards the Knicks to snap their losing streak tonight.
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