Who are the real New York Knicks?

There is one major question that needs answered in the Big Apple right now.

Who are the real New York Knicks?

January 5, 2013; Orlando FL, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7), point guard Jason Kidd (5) and center Marcus Camby (23) huddle up against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

That’s a fair question given how things have gone for the Knicks as of late.

Are they the team that started the season winning 19 of their first 25 games? That team played good team defense, moved the basketball and executed on the offensive end of the floor.  That same team that looked like they could contend for a championship and beat quality teams such as the defending  champion Miami Heat (twice), San Antonio Spurs (twice), Brooklyn Nets (twice), Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets and others.

But the Knicks haven’t been that team for quite some time now.

What we have seen as of late is a team known for slow starts at both ends of the floor, countless defensive breakdowns, and a team that has stopped moving the basketball and  have relied on isolation more often than not.

Pick any reason you wish. It could be injuries, players returning to the lineup or  chemistry issues, but the facts are that the Knicks have been a different  team  the past 14 games, a span in which they have only won six times.

Fourteen games is not a mini slump, it is quite a large sample size that represents close to 20 percent of the regular season.

One thing is for sure and that at the halfway point of the season, we may not know who this team really is. They have been a tale of two mini seasons to date and to contend for a championship, the team that began the season must once again emerge soon.

The good news is that despite their recent struggles, the Knicks still only 1.5 games behind the Miami Heat for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

The bad news is that because of those struggles, they only hold a one game lead over the Brooklyn Nets in the Atlantic Division and teams such as the Nets, Pacers and Chicago Bulls are now hot on their heels for the No. 2 seed.

There’s more good news in the fact that there’s still plenty of time to get things turned around.

Of course that is assuming that the real Knicks are the team that we saw throughout the first 25 games.

All we need now is for the real Knicks to please stand up and come to play.

Follow Matt Shetler on Twitter for news, reaction and analysis from around the NBA.

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Topics: New York Knicks

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