2012 NBA power rankings: Knicks top 3 in early going

Bruce Bennett

The New York Knicks have emerged as one of the league's top squads, generally considered to be the best team in the Eastern Conference thus far this season due to an incredibly effective offense.

The New York Knicks are a top-5 squad in the NBA by pretty much everybody's estimation, holding the top record in the Eastern Conference and absolutely burying teams from beyond the arc.

The Knicks could've faltered in a week with several tough road tests and a pair of games without Carmelo Anthony, who lacerated his finger diving for a loose ball against the Charlotte Bobcats. Instead, they won three of four games, including a blowout 20-point win over the defending NBA Champions, the Miami Heat. They're No. 2 in the league in offensive efficiency behind only the Oklahoma City Thunder, and with Jason Kidd back in the lineup controlling the team's ball movement and drilling open looks, that should continue.

The Knicks needed a J.R. Smith buzzer-beater to top the Charlotte Bobcats and a fourth-quarter comeback to beat the Denver Nuggets, but they got the results. There was a loss to the Chicago Bulls sprinkled in -- their only loss in the last seven games -- but that was without Anthony.

John Schuhmann of NBA.com was actually amongst the most pessimistic, putting New York at No. 4, but had nothing but good things to say about the team's performance under Mike Woodson:

Melo or no Melo, Amar'e or no Amar'e, Lin or no Lin, the Knicks are now 33-11 in the regular season under Mike Woodson, with only one loss (vs. Miami in April) at Madison Square Garden. Sunday's win over the Nuggets began a stretch of eight straight games in New York, with Tuesday's visit to Brooklyn a chance to avenge their only other Woodson-coached loss in the five boroughs.

Seth Rosenthal of SB Nation had the team at No. 3 in his NBA Power Rankings, as did Marc Stein and John Hollinger of ESPN as well as Kurt Helin at Pro Basketball Talk.

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