The Knicks have a tough schedule coming up. What will be the key to success against the cream of the crop?
In order to be the best, you have to beat the best to prove it. Within in the next several weeks, the Knicks will have the chance to show if they are a real threat in the Eastern Conference.
From now all the way to the beginning of March, they will face the Nets three times, the 76ers twice, the Celtics twice as well, and the Cavaliers, who the Knicks beat in their last match up. As presently constructed, all of these teams stand within the top 5 of the Eastern Conference and are looked at as championship contenders. If the Knicks can pull off wins against these teams, it will only help build momentum heading into a potential playoff run. Even though we have seen some good things from the Knicks this season what is the most important thing that needs to happen for them to contend against the East Elite?
Knicks v Elites
Monday’s heartbreaking overtime loss against the Raptors is the latest example of how the Knicks have struggled with closing out games.They would easily have at least five more wins than they do now if they could have closed games out. This can’t continue to be the case if the Knicks want to prove themselves against the best in the East. With the Knicks going up against stars such as Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant, and Donovan Mitchell in the near future they will have to play excellently down the stretch.
These are the kind of players that you don’t want to be in late game situations with because the will likely hurt you when it counts most. Whether it’s Coach Thibs changing the game plan or the Knicks players having to step up to the plate, this teams needs to figure out how to close out games in order to weather the storm throughout the next few weeks.
Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle, and RJ Barrett will continue to be looked upon to answer the call in these situations. Brunson has hit some big shots this season but he also missed the potential game winner against the Raptors on Monday. Randle and Barrett have also been up and down in these situations throughout the season. The clutch performances from these three will be the deciding factor in how they will measure up to the competition. We are going to see what this team is really made of very soon.