Well oh well. After an 18-game losing streak, the tanking New York Knicks finally won a game last Thursday, Feb. 14 with a 106-91 victory on the road against the Atlanta Hawks. And get this; the Knicks are now on a 3-1 tear, earning wins against potential playoff teams in the San Antonio Spurs and Orlando Magic to snap an 18-game losing streak in the Garden. If the Knicks lost Sunday against the Spurs, the Knicks would have tied the 1993-4 Dallas Mavericks for the longest home losing streak in NBA history.
Moving to 13-48 in a year where a top first round pick is ever so needed, New York has found confidence and a bounce in their step that fans have not seen for weeks. With the Phoenix Suns tanking even further at 12-50, the Knicks are finally not the worst team in the league. They have looked stellar in these last few games, taking advantage of wary defenses by hitting open shots and bouncing through the roof to the rack. This extremely young New York team finally looks like they’re having fun out there, playing exciting basketball that has resulted in wins.
The most important part about this recent streak has been that the Knicks are getting a lot of production from players they hope to be key pieces when New York goes after two superstars this summer. Taking on the contracts of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant will mean that the Knicks are forced to fill the rest of their roster with league-minimum contracts with their remaining cap space. This past week, two potential candidates arose that could be huge for New York’s season next year.
Robinson led the Knicks on both sides of the court in their wins against the Spurs and Magic, and even found himself in an exclusive group with his performance these past two games. He became just the third rookie in the past 25 years to put up a double-double with five blocks in back-to-back games, earning a prominent place in history along with Yao Ming and Tim Duncan.
The 20-year-old first-year center from Western Kentucky University is currently averaging only 6.4 points and five rebounds per game on the year, but with veteran center DeAndre Jordan out recently, Robinson put up 15 points and 14 rebounds against the Spurs, and 17 points and 14 rebounds against the Magic. In the month of February alone, Robinson is averaging 10.9 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.3 blocks off the bench for New York.
I hope the Knicks continue to bench Jordan as much as possible like they did to Enes Kanter so they can get as much exposure as possible for a more realistic piece of their roster next season. There is a possibility Jordan could sign a one-year deal if New York receives Irving or Durant, but those chances are slim. Let the young guys play and prove that they were worth the draft pick.
A former 2016 draft bust for the Detroit Pistons, Ellenson was recently picked up by the Knicks last week on a 10-day contract. He played just 25 minutes in two games for the Pistons this season, but on Tuesday against Orlando, Ellenson played a career-high 36 minutes.
While Ellenson only played four minutes in the win against the Spurs, he racked up 13 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two steals against the Magic for the victory. When New York came back by 10 in the fourth quarter Tuesday, Ellenson hit the 3-pointer to put the Knicks up 104-100 with 2:11 left, putting New York in prime position to win the game. He was part of a Knicks bench that put up 75 points, as he played the entire fourth quarter where New York outscored Orlando 30-13.
Ellenson will probably receive another 10-day contract after this one is up, and rightfully so. He’s played well so far, and I hope that he continues to prove his place as a member of this team. The Knicks are going to need a lot of guys like him that are low cost, but can bring a lot off the bench to seal ball games.
Be on the look for our next Knicks update!