The New York Knicks are sitting pretty at 23-10, landing them a top spot in the Atlantic Conference, No. 2 overall in the East and in the top 10 in ESPN power rankings. But the best is still ahead of them.
The Knicks have played better their past couple of games, after going 7-5 in a stretch that saw little defense and a lot of scoring. However, they're still an elite team in the NBA, and they're doing this all without a large core of their team.
Amar'e Stoudemire, regardless of his starting or bench role, saw his first minutes on New Year's Day against the Sacramento Kings. He surely has a lot of rust to work out, but it's good to see STAT back on the court.
Aside from Stoudemire, the Knicks have gone the entire season without probably their second-best defender in Iman Shumpert. Shump didn't overwhelm with his numbers last year, averaging 9.5 ppg, 2.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds, However, he did post an impressive 1.7 steals per game, and down the stretch he really showed grit and grind—and a knack for scoring.
Along with these two major pieces, the Knicks are also missing the defensive body of Marcus Camby. Camby likely won't contribute as much as STAT to this Knicks team, mostly because of his age and health, but there is no denying that Camby is still a strong defensive presence for the Knicks.
Camby has been battling a foot injury. Marcus has only played in about a third of the games this year, so he'll be another player the Knicks will be happy to have healthy and ready on the bench.
Knicks fans have likely heard this too many times over the past few years, with the pieces coming in and out, but this team still hasn't clicked. Once Shumpert, Stoudemire and Camby are fully integrated into the rotation, and Raymond Felton is back in, the sky will be the limit for this Knicks team.
The Knicks welcome the Boston Celtics to the Garden at 7:30 p.m. EST.