Knicks: 3 keys to get back on track after the All-Star break

NBA: Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks
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The New York Knicks finished a strong first half of the season with a record of 33-22, good for fourth in the Eastern Conference. However, New York stumbled into the All-Star break, losing five of their last six games. Getting back on track will be important for a Knicks team that has vaulted into contention.

The Knicks need to get healthy and stay healthy

New York has been depleted by injuries in recent weeks. Julius Randle, OG Anunoby, and Mitchell Robinson are all on the shelf with injuries that will keep them out of action for the next few weeks. With less than 30 games left to play in the regular season, the Knicks will need to weather the storm until their key players return to the court. Additionally, a fully healthy Knicks roster come playoff time has a much higher ceiling than is currently constructed.

Jalen Brunson needs to continue to play at an All-NBA level

Jalen Brunson is enjoying by far the best season of his career, averaging 27.6 points per game, and being selected to his first All-Star game. Brunson has been hot in February, averaging 33.7 points per game while shooting 49.7% from the field. The Knicks will need their MVP candidate to continue his superb play, not only to make up for the team’s myriad of injuries, but also to help New York secure a top seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Knicks’ role players need to step up in the absence of the team’s stars

In order to stay competitive in the East, it will take a full team effort. Brunson can’t carry the Knicks forever. As such, they will need production out of their role players. Donte DiVincenzo and Precious Achiuwa in particular, have had stellar months of February. Divincenzo is averaging 25.2 points per game this month, knocking down 37% of his three-pointers on over 12 attempts per game.

Achiuwa, once considered just a throw-in as a part of the OG Anunoby trade, has stepped up massively for the Knicks’ front court, averaging 14.0 points, and 11.7 rebounds (5.6 offensive) per game in February, highlighted by a 23-point, 14-rebound performance in a loss to the Orlando Magic. Initially seen as an afterthought, Achiuwa has played himself into the Knicks’ rotation, and figures to stay there even when New York gets back to full strength.

The Knicks will open up the second half of the season tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers. The two teams are separated by just 0.5 games in the standings, so the Knicks will be looking to right the ship and get a pivotal win against a depleted 76ers team.

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