It’s their commitment on the defensive end, though, that’s set them apart from the pack.
The Knicks try to extend their best start in 19 seasons Tuesday night when they visit the Orlando Magic, who are hoping to avoid matching their longest losing streak from 2011-12.
The only unbeaten team in the NBA, New York (4-0) is thriving on both ends of the floor. The Knicks are averaging 104.5 points and have allowed 87.5 and 40.7 percent shooting - both tops in the league.
New York came out with another stingy effort Friday, forcing 20 turnovers in a 104-94 win over Dallas. Anthony scored a season-high 31 points for the Knicks, who held the Mavericks to 37 in the second half.
“We got up to play in that third quarter, second half, got up defensively, denied the passing lanes and we played our defense that we’ve been playing for the last week,” said Anthony, whose career average of 27.9 points against the Magic is his highest against any opponent.
“We ain’t really worried about the naysayers, we just focused on Orlando at this point. These four games are over with and we move on. We take it one game at a time, I’ve been saying that since training camp and I’ll continue to say that.”
In addition to Anthony, sixth man J.R. Smith has given New York a huge boost with a career-high 17.5 points per game. Smith has gone 11 of 16 from 3-point range.
“New York’s a veteran team and if you give them more possessions and you give them possessions on catastrophic turnovers, they’re going to convert them into points,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “They’re a very good team. In my opinion they’re one of the handful of teams that has a chance to come out of the East.”
The Knicks have taken three of four from the Magic. They won two of three meetings last season, with the victories coming by an average of 19.0 points.
Orlando (2-4) has averaged 77.5 points during a four-game skid. Two nights after falling 107-68 to Brooklyn in the opener of a home-and-home set, Orlando lost 82-74 on Sunday.
“The shots that we had tonight were good shots when you look on it. It’s just the matter at the beginning of the game having that focus for 48 minutes, not just three quarters or one quarter or one half,” said coach Jacque Vaughn whose team is averaging a league-low 87.8 points.
“Soon as that ball is thrown up at the beginning of the game, that focus needs to be there.”
“We all have to stick together, win or lose, when it’s good and bad,” Nelson said. “Every team goes through losing streaks and goes through situations when you hit adversity in the course of a season - we’re hitting it right now. (We) got some guys out (but) we don’t make excuses.”
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