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Dwight Howard nonexistent as Knicks breeze by Magic

Posted By Michael Burke On Apr 5 2012 @ 10:47 pm In New York Knicks | 48 Comments

When the New York Knicks stepped on the court tonight to face the Orlando Magic, they made it very apparent that they were ready to bounce back from Tuesday night’s fourth quarter collapse in Indiana, and they did just that.

For the second time in eight days, the Knicks dominated the Magic, and for the second time in eight days, kept Dwight Howard silent, mostly credited to Tyson Chandler.

On March 28th, Howard had just 12 points, while turning the ball over six times in a 22 point Knicks victory. Tonight, he had just eight points, along with five turnovers. Tyson Chandler, meanwhile, hit six of his nine shots en route to 12 points and 12 boards.

It is no secret that Tyson has become an elite center in this league, both on the defensive and offensive sides of the ball, as he is tied for ninth in the league in rebounding, 14th in blocked shots, and first overall in field goal percentage. His phenomenal play should eliminate the possibility of anymore future talk of the Knicks going after Dwight Howard; Tyson can do just as much, if not more, while being a true leader, as opposed to the immature and often selfish Howard.

As for the rest of the action on Thursday night, it was a total team effort for the Knicks; five guys finished in double figures, led by Carmelo Anthony with 19 points, in an absolute three-point fest.  New York made 13 of 25 from downtown, with the charge being led by J.R. Smith and Steve Novak, who each had three triples.

Watching the Knicks on nights like tonight makes it easy to envision this team making a deep playoff run; they really have looked like title contenders in some of their recent wins, and all of the pieces needed to make a run are certainly there

The Knicks have the talent and ability to matchup with the Bostons and Chicagos and Miamis of the Eastern Conference, and now it’s just about proving it. However, before they can prove it in the playoffs, they need to make the playoffs, which will not be the easiest of tasks.

The Knicks lead the Bucks by just a game and a half for the eighth and final playoff spot, and have a very difficult schedule ahead of them. With games against the Bulls, Heat, and Celtics upcoming, the basketball world might truly find out how legitimate the Knicks are.

If the Knicks fare well in those games and make the postseason, as I believe they will, they will be a very dangerous team, and possibly a contender. Even if Jeremy Lin cannot return this season, the Knicks should be fine. As I have said before, this injury really is not a huge deal for the Knicks.

Had it occurred a month or two ago, while the team was playing under Mike D’antoni, then yes, it would be a huge deal. However, this offense under Mike Woodson runs through Carmelo Anthony, not the point guard, and Baron Davis is plenty good enough to be successful at the point for this team. As long as Carmelo is okay, the Knicks are okay.

Remember, Amar’e Stoudemire is still out, and his return will be very important for the Knicks. A team with Stoudemire, Carmelo, Tyson Chandler, Baron Davis, J.R. Smith, Landry Fields, and Steve Novak can play with any given team in this league.

Put it this way: nobody will want to face the Knicks in the playoffs, as they can matchup with anyone, including the Bulls and Heat. In that sense, this really is a team that will be a dark horse contender in the East come May and June.


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