The New York Knicks returned to the national conversation two weeks ago when they were riding a the wave of a eight-game winning streak — their longest since 1994.
However, once the first major hurdle stepped in the way, the Knicks tripped.
The Celtics ended the streak with a 118-116 win at Madison Square Garden, then the Miami Heat came to MSG and dismantled the Knicks to the tune of a 113-91 drubbing. Still licking their wounds, the Knicks went to Cleveland and allowed the Cavaliers to get what has been their only win since Nov. 27.
New York has a second chance during a current eight-day, four-game span to make amends.
The Knicks have answered the three-game slide with wins over Oklahoma City Dec. 22 and then in front of a national ESPN audience on Christmas Day they defeated Chicago. Both wins were at home, allowing the Knicks to handle their business against solid teams at MSG — something they couldn't do two weeks ago.
Now they head to the Sunshine State to try and avenge the Miami loss, and then take on a seemingly resurgent Orlando team that has put it together after trading away a number of its players two weeks ago. It will be the first meeting between the Knicks and Magic this season.
Up first is Miami — winners of 14 of its last 15.
While NBA TV offers up Tuesdays as Fan Night, tonight's rematch of Miami and New York apparently did not have enough heat — no pun intended — to get the fan vote. That went to the reeling Lakers going up against a solid San Antonio squad. So League Pass is the only outlet outside of the New York and Miami markets to see the game.
But the Knicks do get the spotlight Thursday night as the opener to a solid TNT doubleheader of New York-Orlando and San Antonio-Dallas.
Orlando has won three in a row, defeating San Antonio and Boston in the process. The streak comes on the heels of a three-team trade that helped the Magic shore up a leak that saw two four-game losing streaks in the last three weeks.
If the New York can pull off wins in these four games, two at home and two on the road, against a group of teams that all have the ability to finish top four in their conference it will say a lot about the state of the Knicks.
This is a chance for the team to show, while perhaps it wasn't ready two weeks ago to handle the pressure, they can turn it around on a dime. Four wins in this eight-day span will be a helluva way to ring in the new year for the new Knicks.
— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter