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Strength of Schedule

Posted By Howard Megdal On November 8, 2012 @ 11:41 am In Around the NBA | Comments Disabled

[1]If the Knicks were an NCAA team, they’d have one fantastic RPI.

Look,  3-0 start is just that- a few wins tucked into an 82-game schedule. It provides little bulwark against future losses, and seems disproportionately important because it happened first. By next Thursday, the Knicks will have played twice as many games as they have right now. And then 76 more.

Still, it is worth remembering that the Knicks aren’t just 3-0: they are 3-0 against teams who haven’t lost against anyone but the Knicks.

Anyone who saw the Heat crush the Nets last night, or saw the Sixers utterly shut down New Orleans’ offense, understands that the Knicks have been outliers for both teams. The Heat scored more than 119 in three of four games, 103 against the Nets (and didn’t play starters in the fourth quarter). Against the Knicks? 84.

The Sixers allowed 75 points in their opener, a win over a Denver Nuggets team that should challenge for the Western Conference title. The Sixers gave up 62 against New Orleans. The Hornets aren’t great, but 62 points is very low.

Against the Knicks? 100 and 110 points allowed. And the Knicks play at a very slow pace this season, so those totals are even more elevated than they otherwise would be.

The schedule features more tests ahead. Dallas, Friday night’s opponent, is 4-1. Then comes 2-2 Orlando on the road, followed by trips to 4-1 San Antonio and 3-1 Memphis. The Knicks don’t play a team with a losing record currently until Indiana on November 18, and the Pacers were quite a good team last year (though they are missing Danny Granger now).

What does all this mean? Not a ton; we’re still talking about three games. But they are as encouraging, given all context, as three games can be.

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[1] Image: http://knicks.lohudblogs.com/files/2012/11/APTOPIX-Nets-Heat-Bas_Megd.jpg