So it finally happened for the New York Knicks.
What, you thought we were going to concentrate on their first loss of the season? That did happen, yes, but the Knicks also broke a streak in a good way last week, winning in San Antonio for the first time since 2003. While the Knicks were 5-0 heading into the game against the Spurs, many still believed the Knicks to be a bit of a fluke. But a rousing come-from-behind win against a full strength San Antonio squad officially put the league on notice that the Knicks could be considered among the league's top teams. Despite falling to the Memphis Grizzlies the next day, the Knicks rebounded with consecutive wins and are still tied for the lowest amount of losses in the league heading into Wednesday's games.
Here's our third installment of the Knicks' Player Power Rankings:
1. Carmelo Anthony (Last: 1) - Anthony retains the top spot in our rankings, in large part to his performance in the Knicks' victory over the Spurs, despite scoring just nine points in the game. The Spurs made it a point to shut down Anthony, so he did what basketball fans have been clamoring for him to do his entire career - do everything else well and have an impact without scoring. Anthony had 12 rebounds, three assists, a number of secondary "hockey" assists, and played excellent defense in helping the Knicks to a big win. On Tuesday in New Orleans, he got back to his usual ways, going off for 23 points in the first half of a Knicks' blowout win.
2. Jason Kidd (Last: 4) - Kidd's performance in fourth quarters have been second to none, and against the Spurs Kidd hit a number of big shots that helped spark the comeback. His defense continues to be spectacular and his ball movement infectious. He's averaging just under 25 minutes per game, which is a perfect amount to keep him effective yet fit the entire season.
3. J.R. Smith (Last: 2) - Just like Kidd's fourth quarter performance in San Antonio, Smith's third quarter one was paramount, as the Knicks probably don't win the game without their sixth man's 13-point explosion in the third frame. Smith also hit the go-ahead three pointer that night, the biggest shot of his Knicks' career so far. In the four games the Knicks' played since our last rankings, Smith hauled in 22 rebounds.
4. Raymond Felton (Last: 3) - After the Knicks beat the Spurs, I wondered to myself what the narrative would have been had Jeremy Lin had the game that Felton had that night - 25 points, 7 assists in a huge comeback road win over one of the league's best teams while Carmelo Anthony only scored nine points. Something tells me it would have read like "This should be Lin's team", or something to that effect. If Felton just keeps playing his game (admittedly we are getting ahead of ourselves here), the Knicks are going to have made the right move at the point guard position.
5. Ronnie Brewer (Last: 6) - Brewer has been amazingly consistent and solid on offense all year, and kept it up in the Knicks' last four games, making 13 of 25 shots to continue his surprising start to the year. On Sunday in an ugly win over the Pacers, Brewer was +17 in just 23 minutes. Against New Orleans on Tuesday, he hit two more three pointers, and is shooting 42% from beyond the arc so far this season.
6. Tyson Chandler (Last: 7) - Chandler has been a bit disappointing offensively this season - not that his numbers are too bad, but that it feels like he's been a bit underused. Chandler and Raymond Felton have become a very good pick and roll tandem, but Chandler only had seven points in each of the Knicks' last three games.
7. Rasheed Wallace (Last: 10) - It was a nice bounce back week for 'Sheed, hitting double figures in points against the Spurs and Grizzlies and hauling in 14 combined rebounds against the Pacers and Hornets. Personally, I still believe that Marcus Camby should be ahead of 'Sheed on the depth chart, and likely will be when he's totally healthy, but Wallace has carved out a niche on this team regardless.
8. Marcus Camby (Last: 9) - Camby didn't play against the Spurs or Grizzlies as he continues to round into shape. But when he did play this week? In 23 minutes, he hauled in eight rebounds and blocked two shots. That would make for some great per-36 minute numbers!
9. Pablo Prigioni (Last: 7) - It was a pretty rough week for everyone's favorite Argentine. In the last four games, Prigioni was just 2-of-8 for four points. In his 13 minutes against the Hornets, he turned it over three times. As expected, the 35-year-old rookie seems to be in the middle of a rough patch.
10. Steve Novak (Last: 8) - Novak sandwiched a solid performance against Indiana in between some pretty poor ones. When Novak's shot isn't falling, there's just not much of a reason to have him out there, even though he's been pretty solid on the defensive end. In the last four games, Novak went just 9-of-31 from downtown. In other news, the Mayans were right.
11. James White (Last: 13) - White actually got some third quarter minutes against the Hornets, and logged 15 total in that blowout, scoring seven points and grabbing four boards, and throwing down a dunk! Finally!
12. Kurt Thomas (Last: 11) - Thomas only played in the Knicks' loss to the Grizzlies, logging nine minutes and registering four rebounds. I selfishly would like to see him get some more time, but there are only so many minutes to go around.
13. Chris Copeland (Last: 12) - Played just eight total minutes in the last four games. Seems to have fallen behind White in the battle between the last guys on the bench.