The Knicks Are Off and Running, Literally and Figuratively

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The Heat player in the background is as impressed with the Knicks' new offense as their fans are. Photo: AP

It’s silly to read too much into a team’s opening-night game, especially when it’s the Knicks, and especially when it’s against one of the few teams in the NBA that’s arguably worse than they are. But it’s worth noting that the Knicks won last night, and did so by the type of score (120–115), in the type of game, that they’ll likely be seeing all season long.

In fact, the win doesn't really even matter as much as the way they got it. As expected, Mike D’Antoni’s offense was up-tempo, and focused on quick ball movement and quick shots. (Their 27 assists last night were eight more than last season’s average.) This, combined with the defense, if essentially an afterthought, will translate into lots of points this year — for both the Knicks and their opponents. And just as notable was who was sitting on the bench the entire game: onetime stars Stephon Marbury and Eddy Curry, who aren’t quite right for D’Antoni’s system.

Of course, these being the Knicks, things didn’t come easy. They watched a 21-point lead dwindle to just six in the final minutes, after all. But look, it’s understood that D’Antoni and Donnie Walsh weren’t so much brought in to win now, but to rebuild the team with an eye on the free-agent class of 2010. And faced with little other choice, Knicks fans are desperate enough to wait that long to see a contender. Until then, though, they still have to watch the roster Isiah Thomas built, and whether or not you think the Knicks will be good this year (and the consensus is that they won’t be), from the looks of last night, they’ll at least be watchable. And at this point, we’ll take what we can get.