The 2012-13 season has been quite the roller coaster ride for the New York Knicks.
But despite how low things may have gotten at times, the Knicks hit the 50-win plateau and can clinch the franchise’s first division title since 1994 with either a home win Tuesday night against the Washington Wizards or a Brooklyn Nets loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
However with the Knicks playing so well at the moment, a division title isn’t enough.
That’s a statement that Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson would agree with, as he has his eyes on a much bigger prize- and NBA championship.
Woodson knows that the Knicks are close and called his team “desperate” to win a title this season.
“It’s desperate times for our team to win and win now,” Woodson said Monday during his weekly show on ESPN radio. “We’re in desperate times right now to win a title.”
I like the use of the word desperate because often the desperate team is the most difficult one to play against. Sometimes the most talented team doesn’t always come out on top, but the team that wants it more does.
Woodson knows the Knicks window to win with this group is a very small one and there may be no better opportunity to win the Knicks first title since 1973 than with this team that is playing at such a high level at the moment.
“Getting 50 wins is special, too,” Woodson also said (via the New York Daily News). “But I’m looking at the big picture. It’s all great. We can accomplish winning our division and securing that second spot. Then the next step is winning the title. I’m only in it for that and only that.”
However talking the talk is easy. Walking the walk is another story altogether.
Will this postseason be different?
Carmelo Anthony gets a lot of heat for his postseason failures, but Woodson doesn’t exactly have a shiny playoff resume either as Woodson has a career 12-22 postseason record and has never made it out of the second round.
But there are some things to like about this team’s chances.
The first is the way that Anthony is playing heading into the playoffs.
If Anthony can keep playing at a high level, he can carry the Knicks throughout the first couple of rounds.
Keep in mind that the Knicks are competing for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, which means home-court advantage up until the conference finals. Anthony hasn’t had home court advantage at all yet with the Knicks, so that is a big factor.
Speaking of the No. 2 seed, the Knicks enter Tuesday’s game with a 2.5 games lead over Indiana. In that scenario, the earliest the Knicks would face the defending-champion Heat would be in the conference finals. If it gets to that point, anything can happen.
But the most important factor in why this Knicks team can be successful in the postseason is desperation.
If Woodson installs that desperate mentality into his team, they will be very tough out at any point in the playoffs.
The coach is desperate. The fans are desperate. If the team plays desperate, the Knicks will be just fine.
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