The Knicks enter the week 3 1/2 games back of Atlanta with 15 games to play. Their path to the postseason isn't an easy one.
Four of their next five games are against teams that are at least 14 games under .500. But nine of their final 10 games are against teams over .500. Eight of 10 are against teams currently in playoff position. Only the Jazz and Suns aren't within the top-eight seeds in their conference, and Phoenix is 10 games over .500.
The fact that they're even in contention for a playoff spot at this point in the season is a testament to Amar'e Stoudemire.
Stoudemire has been a key to the Knicks' six-game streak. The team is 6-1 since Stoudemire was inserted into the starting lineup and his production over that span has been top notch.
He's scoring 22.7 points per 36 minutes since being inserted into the starting lineup, 3.9 more points than his season average.
He's shooting 61 percent from the field over the last seven games, six percent higher than his season average.
And he's pulling down 8.6 rebounds per 36 minutes.
"I work extremely hard so I know once you put the work in the results will eventually happen," Stoudemire said on Saturday. "So that's pretty much what we're seeing now. We're seeing the manifestation of the work I put in."
The Knicks have outscored opponents by an average of 21 points per game in the last seven games when Chandler, Stoudemire and Anthony share the floor together (94 minutes).
On the season, New York is being outscored by eight points per game when its big three shares the floor.
"We've all played with top teams and have been successful so far. So you put guys on the court together and they're going to figure it out," Stoudemire said.
It's taken these three nearly three seasons to do so. Mike Woodson says the key is that all three are healthy.
"We just haven't had them on the floor for a long period of time where they can play minutes and develop chemistry together," Woodson said on Saturday.
Stoudemire's strong play has helped. He's been incredibly effective in the post over the last seven games.
According to Synergy, the Knicks are averaging 1.12 points per play in plays in which Stoudemire shoots in the post or passes out of it during the winning streak. (Stoudemire's post scoring couldn't be isolated to determine the rate when he shares the floor with Anthony and Chandler.)
The emergence of the Chandler-Stoudemire-Anthony trio may be helping the team's outside shooting as well.
The Knicks have shot 46 percent from beyond the arc in the last seven games when Chandler, Stoudemire and Anthony share the floor.
The improved spacing may be helping Anthony as well. During the Knicks' six-game winning streak, he's averaging 1.25 points per play in isolation, per Synergy. (Anthony's isolation scoring couldn't be isolated to determine the rate when he shares the floor with Stoudemire and Chandler.)
Not bad. All of the numbers lead us to our question: Do you believe what you're seeing from the Knicks' big three? Is it sustainable? Or is it a product of their weak schedule?
Up now: The Knicks' fans protest will proceed. The hiring of Phil Jackson hasn't changed their plans.
What's next: The Knicks will practice on Monday. Their next game is on Wednesday against Indiana.
Question: Do you believe what you're seeing from the Knicks' big three? Is it sustainable? Or is it a product of their weak schedule?
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