Opening Tip: New Year's resolutions

January, 1, 2014
1/01/14
8:00
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ShumpertTom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports9-21 isn't getting it done for Iman Shumpert & Co.
As the New York Knicks enter 2014, they remain in the playoff race despite a horrific 9-21 start to the season. We offer some New Year's resolutions for the Knicks if they want to turn things around.

Play better defense: Yes, a noble concept, but one the Knicks seem to lose sight of. The Knicks entered Tuesday's games ranked 25th in the NBA by allowing opponents to shoot 46.4 percent from the field. Teams are getting far too many good looks at the hoop. If the Knicks can be stingier on the perimeter, they could become a top 10 defense in terms of points allowed per game. They were ranked 11th as of Tuesday, allowing 99.2 points per game.

Beat Eastern Conference teams not named Heat or Pacers: Don't worry about those two teams. The Knicks clearly aren't on their level. Instead, the Knicks need to start feasting on the rest of the mediocre conference. The Knicks are currently 9-11 against Eastern Conference teams that aren't Miami or Indiana, and that's unacceptable. The Knicks need to beat those other teams on a more consistent basis if they want to secure a playoff spot.

Stay healthy: The Knicks have been besieged by injuries this season, and need more luck when it comes to injuries in the new year. Not having Tyson Chandler or Carmelo Anthony severely hurts the team, and the supporting group has not been good enough to pick up the slack. If the Knicks can get healthy, they can make a run.

Up now: Read more about the Knicks signing Jeremy Tyler and waiving Chris Smith. Tyler is excited to be with the Knicks.

Raymond Felton (groin) and Pablo Prigioni (toe) will not play in the upcoming three-game set in Texas, while Carmelo Anthony experienced contract in practice Tuesday. He's still hoping he can play against the Spurs on Jan. 2, although it's still unknown if he'll be able to do so.

Forward Metta World Peace expects to be sidelined for two weeks after his platelet-rich plasma surgery on Jan. 6, and will not play in the three games in Texas, either.

What's next: The Knicks will not practice Wednesday, and will play in San Antonio on Thursday. They follow that up with road games in Houston and Dallas.

Question: What New Year's resolutions do you have for the Knicks?

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
24.2 3.1 1.0 35.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 6.6
AssistsJ. Calderon 4.7
StealsS. Larkin 1.2
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.3