After San Antonio lost last night, the New York Knicks became the lone undefeated team in the league. They’ve been scoring an impressive 104.7 points per game, good for third in the league, and giving up just 85.3 points per game, good for first in the league. Their 19.4 points differential is insane – almost double that of the second place Miami Heat’s 10.2 differential.
Looking at the chart above, you can see that the Knicks are way above average in both offensive and defensive efficiency, which, if you’re un-aware, measures how many points per 100 possessions a team scores/gives up. They’re slowing the pace considerably, locking into their half-court defensive sets, but running very efficient half-court offense, thanks to a plethora of passes. Miami and Dallas are one and two in the NBA in points scored per night, but as you can see, they’re letting up a lot of points, relying on their offensive game to carry them to victory.
The Knicks’ differential is very impressive, as it shows that they’re playing their game, and not letting the team’s they face induce a type of play. For instance, the Knicks were able to slow the Miami Heat down, limiting them to just 84 points, when their next lowest scoring night was 103, then 119. The Miami Heat have scored 120+ points twice already this season, but the Knicks slowed them down, and played efficient, team basketball, in order to capitalize and win.
Moreover, it’s worth noting that the Knicks aren’t just destroying bad teams, as aside from their opponents’ loss to the Knicks, they are a combined 6-0 against the rest of the NBA.
As the Knicks welcome the Dallas Mavericks to Madison Square Garden tomorrow, it’s going to be interesting to see if they’ll be able to control the game tempo, like they did against the Miami Heat, and limit the NBA’s second highest scoring team to under 90 points, giving them a much better chance of pulling out their fourth straight victory to start the year.