Knicks grab 16th win in ugly game vs. Magic

By on April 12, 2015

The Cleveland Cavaliers added LeBron James and Kevin Love to a roster that included Kyrie Irving and later traded for Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. That’s a formidable roster, and yet Cleveland just recently surpassed 50 wins.

The Cavs have already clinched a playoff berth, and Milwaukee will likely qualify as well. If Boston clinches a playoff spot, that will mean three lottery teams from last season will make the playoffs this year. A more realistic goal for the Knicks is following the model set by the Bucks and Celtics; two clubs that made a few smart moves are well-coached and grew as teams.

On Saturday, the Knicks improved to 16-64 against a dreadful Orlando Magic team. The game featured the two teams combining for an NBA record low 15 second-quarter points — eight for the Knicks, seven for Orlando. Overall, the teams combined to miss 105 shots.

Derek Fisher is confident the Knicks can win 63 games next season. Meanwhile, it takes him 80 games to get win No. 16 into his first season as head coach.Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images

Derek Fisher is confident the Knicks can win 63 games next season. Meanwhile, it takes him 80 games to get win No. 16 into his first season as head coach.

The Knicks led by as many as 13 before Orlando rallied to take a fourth-quarter lead. Tim Hardaway’s three-pointer with 12.6 seconds left gave the Knicks the lead for good. Cole Aldrich led the Knicks with 19 points. At least half the players on the Knicks’ current roster won’t be back next season. In many ways, Fisher will be starting over again with a new set a players.

Plus, making the jump from worst to seventh or eighth in the Eastern Conference will be challenging when you consider the non-playoff teams that are ahead of the Knicks.

Charlotte has already been eliminated from playoff contention while Miami and Indiana are hanging on by a thread. Those three teams should all be better next season, especially the Heat once Chris Bosh returns and the Pacers once Paul George gets a full training camp.

Cole Aldrich leads the Knicks with 19 points on Saturday.Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images

Cole Aldrich leads the Knicks with 19 points on Saturday.

The Knicks’ star player, Carmelo Anthony, will also be returning from a knee injury, and his health will go a long way toward determining whether the Knicks can make a significant jump. The worst season in franchise history will mercifully come to an end this week, and the Knicks can begin building toward a better tomorrow. A lottery pick plus cap space to sign free agents give the Knicks a good jumping off spot.

Assuming Anthony and point guard Jose Calderon come back healthy and the Knicks draft a quality player and use their cap space wisely, their talent will be upgraded dramatically. Maybe it will even be good enough to get the Knicks into the playoffs where they can start working on the more important 16 victories.

“In the Eastern Conference you can get right back in it,” Calderon said early Saturday. “No one knows how this summer will play out.” 

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