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Friday, November 9, 2012
Knicks find offense in unbeaten start

By Ernest Tolden, ESPN Stats & Information


Mark L. Baer/US PresswireThe Knicks are the league's lone remaining unbeaten team thanks to a much-improved offense.
The New York Knicks have stormed out of the gates this season with their first 3-0 start since the 1999-00 season, which was also the last time the franchise won a postseason series on its way to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Knicks remain the last unbeaten team in the NBA, with the San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks falling on Wednesday night. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other time in franchise history the Knicks were the league’s last team to lose a game was in the 1958-59 season when they started 2-0 with both wins coming in overtime.

New York entered this season with high expectations on the defensive end. Last season after Mike Woodson took over as head coach on March 14, the Knicks went 18-6 in the last 24 regular-season games. The team held its opponents to 97.4 points per 100 possessions over that stretch, ranking fourth in defensive efficiency during that span.

The defense has been solid again this season, holding opponents to a league-low 85.3 points per game, while the offense has exploded on the scene.

The Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers are the only teams that have scored at least 100 points in every game this season. The Knicks rank second in offensive efficiency behind the Miami Heat, scoring 114.6 points per 100 possessions, after ranking 19th in the league last season (101.4).

The Knicks have especially been effective in the half court, an area where they had issues on offense last season.

New York is averaging an NBA-high 1.03 points per play in the half court and is shooting over 46 percent on such plays this season. Last year the Knicks averaged just 0.88 points per play in the half court, ranking 19th in the league.

With their early-season success on both ends of the court, the Knicks have outscored their opponents by an average of 19.3 points, which is by far the highest scoring margin in the NBA this season. No other team is even outscoring its opponents by more than 10.2 points per game.

The last time the Knicks scored more than 100 points per game and allowed fewer than 100 points per game in the same season was the 1992-93 season. The Knicks ranked 24th out of 27 teams that season in scoring, averaging 101.6 points. However, they led the NBA in scoring defense, allowing just 95.4 points per game.

The Knicks host the Dallas Mavericks Friday night at Madison Square Garden. New York is seeking its first 4-0 start since the 1993-94 season when it won its first seven games. That season the Knicks made a run to the NBA Finals before losing to the Houston Rockets in seven games.