The New York Knicks have caught a scheduling break over the past three games, facing three of the NBA's bottom dwellers, team that have managed the arduous task of being even worse than the Knicks this season. As a result, the Knicks have reeled off three straight victories with their latest coming at the expense of the hapless Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night, extending the 76ers' losing streak to 17 games.
Although the victory counts the same as the other 24 the Knicks have this season, it should not be looked at as anything overly impressive. Wins against teams of the caliber of the 76ers come cheaply and despite what the Knicks did well during the game, nothing has changed for the team. They are still not ready to match up against the top teams in the NBA and will have to be content with knowing that they are the best of the mediocre teams in the NBA.
With two atrocious defensive teams squaring off against each other, the final score of 123-110 was almost an inevitability. The 2013-14 season is more than three-quarters gone, neither team has shown any ability, propensity, or desire to stop their opponents from putting the ball in the basket; the 76ers and the Knicks are tied for 28th place in defensive rating this season, with each allowing 109.7 points per 100 possessions.
Thanks to the lackluster defense played by both sides, each team was able to rattle off points as if they were playing in a no-defense All-Star contest. The difference is the final score of the contest was a reflection of what has been a season-long trend: the Knicks possess a far more potent offense than the 76ers, having scored 8.5 points per 100 possessions more than the 76ers.
Not even the Knicks' porous defense was able to close that gap so while the 76ers were able to put together one of their better offensive games of the season against the Knicks, a feat many Knicks opponents have achieved, their offensive output of 113.7 points per 100 possessions was undone by the fact they allowed a mind-blowing 127.2 points per 100 possessions with the second half being when the Knicks really separated themselves. After the teams were tied at 61-61 at halftime, the Knicks proceeded to outscore by 13 points over the final two periods en route to notching their 25th season victory.
With such staggeringly high offensive numbers, there were a number of offensive stars for the Knicks on Monday with Tim Hardaway, Jr. leading the way with 28 points on 13 field goal attempts and 6 free throw attempts and also producing 154 points per 100 possessions. Four other Knicks scored at least double figures with only Carmelo Anthony doing such in an inefficient manner. Even against an abysmal defense, those statistics are quite impressive.
The run of the Knicks facing off against awful NBA teams will continue over the course of their next two games with contests against the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics so it is entirely feasible that we will see the Knicks put together a five-game winning streak and perhaps even provide Knicks fans with some false hope before crashing back to Earth as their competition stiffens in the future.