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New York Knicks trying to catch Miami Heat

As the All-Star game approaches, the New York Knicks are approaching first place in the Atlantic division and the Eastern Conference. The question is do they have the horses to catch the Miami Heat and to stay there if they do?

Currently the Knicks are in second place in the division just a onw adn a half games behind the Heat. The Knicks are sitting at 31-16, while the Heat have a game in hand and are at 32-14. New York has played better on the road this season than the Heat, while the Heat has owned a better home record.

Miami has dominated division play with a record of 7-1, while the Knicks have struggled at 5-4. Nevertheless, the Knicks are 5-1 over thier last six games and are 7-3 over their past 10 games, while the Heat has won 3 straight and 8 of their last 10.

At this point, it cannot get too much better for New York. Star forward Amar’e Stoudemire is healthy again, while Raymond Felton has also returned and given the team the dribble penetration it sorely missed while he recovered from an injured hand.

With Carmelo Anthony scoring consistency with an average of 28.4 points per game and Tyson Chandler taking control of the rebounding, the Knicks look strong. Chandler, on Monday night, tied former Knicks great Willis Reed with his third straight game of 20 or more rebounds.

Head Coach Mike Woodson wants the Knicks to catch Miami before the break for the All-Star game. If they reach that or not, the Knicks will have a great shot at finishing this season with the best record in the East if they can remain healthy.

The Knicks with Chandler, Anthony and Stoudemire own the most expensive frontcourt in the NBA and finally the front office should be happy with the way they are playing.

With Anthony continuing his scoring and Chandler revitalized after talking face to face with Woodson about taking certain plays off, the Knicks look strong for a second half push to take the Eastern Conference regular season title.

Stoudemire has given the team depth again, but is no longer the focal point of the offense. That in reality will help them since it does not require the rest of the team to re-adjust their roles since he has returned. He gives a boost to the Knicks bench that includes J.R. Smith and his low post scoring has been reliable as he his shot 50% or higher in 10 consecutive games.

The second half will be tough for the Knicks, as they play 21 of their final 36 games away from Madison Square Garden. Defensively the team needs to concentrate the entire game and help protect Stoudemire when he is on the court, as opposing teams will go after his mediocre play on defense.

Whether they can reach Miami and overtake them to win the Atlantic division and the Eastern Conference is still uncertain, but if the first half of the season is any indication, they will give the Heat a run for their money.


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