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The Knicks Are Above .500, And We Must Remain Vigilant


Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The New York Knicks beat the Detroit Pistons last night, 109-90, and in doing so brought their record to 18-17. No, I did not transpose those numbers, or put an 8 where a 2 was supposed to be. The New York Knickerbockers are, right now, at this very moment, a winning basketball team.

This is the latest into the season that the Knicks have had a winning record since the 2012–13 campaign, when they won 54 games and beat the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. They have won seven of their last nine, currently hold the four-seed in the Eastern Conference, and are sending Julius Randle to the All-Star Game. All of this can change quickly. The distance between the fourth spot in the East and the 10th is just 1.5 games, and the Knicks have the so-far-underachieving Heat, Celtics, and Raptors right on their heels.

But credit where it is due: The Knicks are playing good, winning basketball right now. Rookie point guard Immanuel Quickley has come out of nowhere to become an invaluable spark plug off the bench; RJ Barrett looks like a functional player, something he was certainly not in his rookie season after being the third overall pick in the 2019 draft; Julius Randle is completely transformed under new head coach Tom Thibodeau, who has turned the forward from a guy whose primary move was "dribble into the lane and do a bad spin move and run into a guy and spike a layup off the backboard" into a terror. He's averaging 23 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists per game, and his all-star selection came without even the faintest whiff of pity.

This is what we must be wary of, though. When the Knicks become a team and fanbase that no longer seeks out or accepts pity, they become, well, something far more concerning:

Sir! Sir, no. We are not doing this. Someone get the spray bottle please—

No! No, everyone stop that, right now! Calm down and return to your homes.

You see what waits for us, yes? The video above was taken outside of Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, right after the Knicks had defeated the Pacers to improve their record to 17-17. They weren't even officially a winning team yet, and already the city's streets were no longer safe from Knicks fans.

If the Knicks keep winning games, things like this are just going to keep happening. People on TV will begin talking about the Knicks, and they will shout things about how, I don't know, Derrick Rose is the most clutch player in the league. You will hear whispers in the ether, asking questions such as, "Elfrid Payton, Alec Burks, and a first-rounder should be enough to get Bradley Beal, yeah?" Someone you know—possibly someone you love!—will try to speak to you about Frank Ntilikina.

How you choose to deal with this impending situation is up to you. I only ask that you prepare yourself in some way. Maybe you will need to stop using the internet until the Knicks are five games below .500, or stop listening to sports talk radio, or fistfight a friend. I have no advice on the best course of action for you and your family.

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