One positive about having a veteran team is that when it comes to making adjustments, veterans know what needs to be done.
That has been the case with the New York Knicks so far this season as the second half adjustments have been big throughout the Knicks’ 4-0 start.
Coming out of the locker room, the Knicks have outscored the opposition 106-82 in the third quarter and 92-75 in the fourth quarter, when their defense really locks down. All in all, the Knicks have outscored their four opponents 198-157 in the second halves of games.
The most impressive part of that is that no team has scored more than 40 points so far against them.
Much of that has to do with leadership, something the Knicks haven’t had in years past.
We all heard of how vocal Tyson Chandler was at halftime Friday night against Dallas and the Knicks responded to his challenge. But in addition to Chandler, having guys like Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas and other veterans around makes it easy on this team to know what they have to come out and do.
Heck, even Carmelo Anthony has shown signs of being a leader and that’s never happened before.
So having these guys in the locker room who have been through the NBA wars for decades is rubbing off on everyone.
Young teams typically show the ability to make the necessary adjustments from week-to-week or even game-to-game, a veteran team like the Knicks have the ability to adjust from quarter-to-quarter.
The Knicks have played well in second halves of games, pulling away in the final 24 minutes to build comfortable leads in each of their victories. In the process, they’ve become only the fourth team in the past 25 years to win their first four games by 10 or more points.
A lot is talked about how the Knicks’ offense has performed, scoring 100 or more points in each of their first four games for the first time in franchise history, but the important adjustments have come on the defensive end of the floor, a team’s just don’t get as many easy looks late in games against this Knicks team.
A big part of the reason for the early success at both ends of the floor is the Knicks outstanding depth.
Mike Woodson doesn’t have to lean on his starters as much and that has been evident as the bench, which is much improved from a season ago. The likes of Steve Novak, J.R. Smith, Pablo Prigioni, Rasheed Wallace, Thomas, Camby and others allows Woodson to keep his starters fresh and full of energy for the fourth quarter.
It’s only four games of 82 so you can’t read too much into it, but the Knicks’ depth and the locker room leadership are great signs early on.
You don’t win games in the first quarter, you win them in the second half and so far, this Knicks team is doing it as well as anyone in the league.
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