Last week, before this fortnight road swing — with a brief layover playing at noon on a Sunday in NYC, which can feel like a road game for "nocturnal" professional athletes — we argued that a 4-3 trip for the then-undefeated Knicks would be an unqualified success. There are two games left to go ... and the Knicks already have that fourth win.
The Knicks breezed past an Anthony Davis–less New Orleans Hornets 102-80 last night, raising their record to 8-1 and, all told, not really breaking much of a sweat. Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points — raising his average to 24.2, fourth in the NBA — and the Knicks were never really in much trouble, cruising to their double-digit win. (Anthony had nineteen points in the first quarter, which is pretty good.) The Knicks have been winning games without playing well, an extremely valuable attribute, but that wasn't necessary last night: They played well and won big.
The Knicks put up 36 three-pointers on the night, hitting fourteen of them, including five from Raymond Felton. Everybody's hitting three-pointers these days, it seems, but Steve Novak, who was 2-for-10 last night and is shooting a woeful 34 percent from long range this year. He's getting his looks, though, and it's difficult to imagine they won't eventually all be falling. It'll be fun when that happens.
But all in all, it was a yawner of a win for the Knicks. Now: the Texas swing. The Knicks play at Dallas tonight — look for lots of reaction shots of Mark Cuban making melodramatic gestures for the cameras when Jason Kidd walks by him — and then have that game at Houston on Friday, when Jeremy Lin gets to hang out with all of his old pals for a night. After this week, the Knicks have six winnable games in a row: home against Detroit, at Brooklyn (which might be fun), at Milwaukee, home against Washington, home against Phoenix, and at Charlotte, before road games with the Heat and Bulls. If the Knicks can somehow win these next two, they would be looking at a 10-1 record heading into six winnable games. In case you thought this was going to slow down.