The Knicks are the league's only unbeaten team.
But the team playing the best is the Heat. It sounds silly to say when the Knicks spanked the Heat last week, but no team has been more impressive than Miami. The Heat are leading the league in scoring, which is trouble for the rest of the NBA.
Erik Spoelstra will have his team returning to its defensive identity soon as Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis adjust. Now, the league's best defensive team has an offense that has proved difficult to defend. Let's see how the Knicks fare during this five-game stretch that includes the Spurs, Mavericks, Grizzlies and Pacers. Until then, the Heat are atop the chart.
James and the Heat
This answer is going to get repetitive this season: The Heat are playing the best basketball as a team. LeBron James is playing the best individually.
The Heat have lost just once and haven't even begun playing the type of defense expected from an organization headed by Pat Riley and coached by Erik Spoelstra. Their offense is leading the league in scoring. James is tied for fifth in scoring while playing just 33 minutes per game thus far. James is shooting a ridiculous 55 percent overall and 57 percent from beyond the arc.
The Heat are deeper with the addition of Ray Allen. Yes, they had a clunker against the Knicks. But Spoelstra always gets his teams to defend, so this team should get stronger.
Knicks winning big
Los Angeles Times
The temptation was to give well-deserved kudos to the Mavericks. Dallas is 4-1 without Dirk Nowitzki.
The numbers told us to go elsewhere. That would be the win-loss records of the Mavericks' four victims, a combined 5-12, which includes the Lakers at 1-4.
Instead it is the team going 3-0 for the first time since 1999, and winning its games by an average of 19.3 points, a league best. Break up the Knicks.
Sustainability will be an issue, but it will be entertaining in New York while it lasts. After all, the injured Amare Stoudemire will come back — eventually. And the great minds can get back to figuring out a way for Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony to co-exist more efficiently. But that's at least one tabloid crisis away.
Surprise, it's the Knicks
It's a New York team — and not the Nets.
We expect the Heat and the Spurs to be among the front-runners, but the Knicks were being declassified as that OTHER team in New York.
The Nets kept Deron Williams and acquired Joe Johnson to open a new era in Brooklyn. Hard to believe the Knicks could fly under the radar.
The Knicks are the only unbeaten left, posting three blowouts, including a rout of the defending champion Heat.
They are playing without injured Amare Stoudemire — and maybe less is more. Carmelo Anthony has carried the team and the return of Raymond Felton has been a plus, preventing opponents from taking a bite out of the Big Apple's old standby.