The New York Knicks find themselves in a spot they are not generally accustomed to.

Sitting with an above .500 record of 18-17 heading into Tuesday night’s matchup with the San Antonio Spurs, the Knicks were the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. The team’s play recently has been particularly strong, as the team was on a three-game win streak and won seven of their last nine games prior to Tuesday’s blowout loss to the Spurs. Following the loss, the Knicks will move into fifth place in the East. That being said, the No. 4 seed through the No. 8 seed are only three games apart.

New York’s run was capped off by a dominant display against the Detroit Pistons this past Sunday, in which the Knicks won 109-90. This season marks their best start through 35 games since the 2012-13 season, in which they finished 54-28 and as the second seed in the Eastern Conference.

Much of the Knicks’ success this season can be credited to the breakout performance of power forward Julius Randle. Randle first signed with the Knicks in July of 2019, but did not have a particularly remarkable campaign in the 2019-2020 season, and the Knicks finished with a record of 21-45, not making the cutoff to play in the bubble in Orlando. This season, however, Randle has improved his game, averaging 23.4 PPG, 11 RPG and 5.5 APG. Randle is also shooting nearly 50% from the floor and 42% from three-point range. His play has been good enough to merit his first nod to the All-Star Game, which is taking place on March 7. Other notable players on the Knicks are Derrick Rose, who was traded to the Knicks by the Pistons less than a month ago, and RJ Barrett, who is looking to make a jump in his sophomore season.

Although New York’s strong play came to a screeching halt against the Spurs, the Knicks enter the All-Star break better than they could have ever imagined prior to the season.


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