Hamilton: The Next Week Is Critical For Knicks

Carmelo’s Knicks Look Good

NEW YORK — At 3-0, the New York Knicks are the NBA’s lone unbeaten team, but their battle for respect is far from over. For the most part, the national media has done its best to rationalize the Knicks’ good start.

The Miami Heat didn’t want to play after sitting in traffic on a bus for 2 hours, and the Philadelphia 76ers didn’t have Andrew Bynum. Never mind the fact that the Heat and Sixers are a combined 6-0 against the rest of the NBA.

The doubters may be correct. Maybe nothing should be made of the Knicks best start in 13 years—the last time they began a season 3-0.

One way or another, we’ll find out over the next week.

The NBA schedule makers don’t usually do the Knicks any favors, but the cancellation of the Knicks’ originally scheduled season opener against the Nets gave them extra time to prepare for the Heat. They played the Sixers in a back-to-back, so they very quickly played a stretch of three games in four nights.

But since then?

Lots of rest.

Consider this: Since Oct. 23, the Knicks have been sleeping in their own beds. Since then, as a team, they’ve spent one night away from New York City — and that was for an overnight trip to Philadelphia. They left for Philadelphia right after last Sunday’s victory and returned to New York late Monday night. By Tuesday night, they were ensconced in their comfort zone — I can confirm that since I ran into Tyson Chandler at Jay Z’s 40/40 Club on Tuesday night.

Coming into tonight, the Knicks have played just three games over the first eight nights of the NBA season — and that’s a rarity.

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