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Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Opening Tip: Keys to Knicks' winning ways

By Ian Begley

Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony's Knicks eye a sixth straight win Tuesday night.
The Knicks have won five in a row and six of seven since the calendar turned to 2014.

New Year, new Knicks, right?

Not quite.

Obviously, it's a bit too simplistic to equate the Knicks' strong play with a simple turn of the calendar page.

There are several concrete reasons for New York's winning streak.

Below, we look at three of the key factors in the Knicks' streak and how they've gone from disastrous to decent.

The defense: Mike Woodson's team has somehow found a way to get stops without Tyson Chandler.

They're holding opponents to 43.5 percent shooting over the last seven games, three percent lower than their season average. As a result, they are giving up just 92.6 points per game, more than five less than their season average.

The offense: The Knicks have been a different offensive team over the last seven games. Part of that is due to Iman Shumpert's aggressive play.

Shumpert had just six points against Phoenix but in the six games prior to that he averaged 14.6.

Shumpert's emergence gives the Knicks another option on offense and forces defenses to rush at another shooter instead of loading up on Carmelo Anthony.

Overall, New York is shooting 46.6 percent from the floor in its last seven games, three percent higher than the team's season average.

Carmelo Anthony
Melo's sharing has been among the reasons for the 'Bockers' recent turnaround.
The Knicks are also scoring 98.3 points per game during their streak, three more points than their season average.

Melo's passing: Carmelo is passing the ball pretty well in 2014.

Anthony's averaging four assists per game in his last seven, a full assist above what he'd averaged prior to that seven-game stretch.

His assist rate -- or the percentage of teammate field goals a player assists on while he's on the floor -- is at 20 percent over the last seven games.

So the Knicks' offensive success can, at least in part, be attributed to Anthony's ability to share the ball.

Up now: The Knicks won their fifth straight game on Monday, holding on in overtime against Phoenix.

They are hoping to get Chandler back on Tuesday against the Bobcats.

Mike Woodson says he wants J.R. Smith to be more of a professional in light of his latest shoelace stunt.

What's next: The Knicks take on Charlotte on Tuesday.

Question: What do you think the keys have been to the Knicks' winning streak?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.