Posted by Daniel Kahaner on February 22nd, 2012
After a tough loss to the Nets on Monday night, the Knicks find themselves below .500 at 16-17 going into a pivotal match up tonight with the Atlanta Hawks. This is a must win game for the Knicks, as they have a very tough stretch of games ahead of them that could make or break the season.
The Hawks will be without star shooting guard Joe Johnson, so the Knicks will look to capitalize on his absence. Johnson’s injury is even more important because the Knicks will again be without rookie Iman Shumpert, who has established himself as the team’s best perimeter defender. The Knicks will be looking to avenge the bad loss to the Nets and get back to .500 before heading down to Miami on Thursday for a huge match up with the conference leading Heat to close out the first half of the season.
After the All Star break, the light at the end of the tunnel for the Knicks will still be nowhere in sight. After a home game against Cleveland on February 29, the Knicks will hit the road for a 4 game road trip against very stiff competition, and have 6 straight tough games overall.
They will begin the road trip in Boston, and then travel to Dallas where the Mavericks will certainly be looking to avenge their recent loss at Madison Square Garden. It doesn’t get any easier, as they will leave Dallas just to head to San Antonio, where the Spurs will surely be licking their chops before facing a Knick team that will surely be fatigued after facing the Celtics and Mavs consecutively, and all the travel time in between. After the Texas tour concludes, the Knicks will head to Milwaukee, where they always seem to have a tough time, even though the Bucks are currently 6 games under .500.
After the tough road trip, the Knicks will return home to face the division leading 76ers, who they did defeat earlier in the season, but this Sixer team looks like a force to be reckoned with coming down the stretch.
The tough 6 game stretch concludes with a road game in Chicago where the Bulls will most likely have Derrick Rose back from his injury.
This is certainly do or die time for the Knicks, and it is coming upon them very quickly. They will need to get the chemistry between Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, and recent stud Jeremy Lin working immediately, and there is no time for excuses if mistakes occur.
The Knicks need to rack up as many W’s as possible in order to get a decent seed in the playoffs, and it all starts tonight against the Hawks.