If we've learned anything about the Knicks in the first third of this truncated season, it's that when they play one of the worst teams in basketball, like Charlotte or Washington or Toronto or Detroit, they will play one of their best games of the year against them at least 50 percent of the time. That's what we call dominance! (Note: This is not what is in fact called dominance.)
The Knicks pasted the Detroit Pistons last night at the Garden 113–86, and they looked downright pleasant doing it. The offense was smooth(ish), Carmelo Anthony looked health(ier) in his return, and Landry Fields might have had his best game since Carmelo showed up, filling up an 18-point, 5-rebound, 3-assist, 5-steal stat line. (Landry has now scored in double figures seven consecutive games.) Carmelo scored 25 himself and looked relaxed and tip-top. On the whole, the Knicks shot 60 percent from the field and are totally back now, all problems solved! Please do not read the next parenthetical paragraph.
(The Pistons are 4–19 and 29th in the league in defense.)
So, now that we've had nothing but good news (including the now ritualistic Garden ovation when Jeremy Lin comes in the game), let's see where the Knicks stand. Last night's win was an obvious must-win considering the stretch coming up after today's night off: three games in three nights, starting with Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls. They then travel to Boston before hosting those darned Nets (whom, whew, they're ahead of the standings now). It's possible that Carmelo might take one of those three games off so his ankle doesn't explode. We sort of think, before a couple of winnable games (home against Utah, at Washington), it'd be downright terrific if they could go 2–1 in that stretch. That would get matters rolling in the right direction before Baron Davis finally shows up. But with those three games coming up, and another losing streak ending, and a Playoff Odds of 21.3 percent, we just hope everybody's resting. In fact, we hope everyone's still asleep.