New York Knicks host New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday aiming to end their recent struggles at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks have lost their last three home games, while a run of two wins in their last ten fixtures overall has halted the improvements they’ve made under head coach Jeff Hornacek.
The current campaign shows signs of mirroring the 2016/17 season where New York had a 16–13 record early on, but collapsed to finish 31–51.
This season the Knicks looked in decent shape at 17-14, but they are now 19-22 and outside of the Eastern Conference play-off places.
However, New York did manage to win in New Orleans at the end of December and that result will give them confidence that they can repeat the trick this weekend.
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Wednesday’s 119-122 defeat at home to Chicago was the third time the Knicks have lost to the Bulls (15-27) this season, and it’s those type of results and performances that Hornacek needs to quickly address.
The Knicks led all of the third quarter and for much of the fourth, before allowing the Bulls back into the game to secure the win in double overtime.
The emergence of players such as Michael Beasley, Doug McDermott and Enes Kanter has given fans hope for the future, while Tim Hardaway Jr’s comeback from injury can’t come soon enough.
Despite their recent troubles at home New York are 15-8 for the season at MSG, but 4-14 on the road certainly tells its own story.
The Knicks will need to improve their guard play in the second half of the season if they’re to force their way back into the play-off picture.
Jarrett Jack had a triple-double on Wednesday with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, but rookie Frank Ntilikina drew a blank and is clearly struggling.
With a seven game road swing to follow the New Orleans fixture, New York are entering a period which will undoubtedly make-or-break their season.
Odds of 200/1 to win the NBA Championships this season highlight how far the Knicks have to go before they can mix it with the best, but a return to form over the next few weeks could see those odds fall.
With Steve Mills as president and Scott Perry as the team’s general manager, New York have an infrastructure in place that is capable of transforming the franchise.
The next few weeks will highlight whether Hornacek is the coach to lead that transformation.