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Defense key as Knicks start season perfect

Raymond Felton #2 of the Knicks lays the

Raymond Felton #2 of the Knicks lays the ball up against Wade #3, James #6 of the Heat. (Getty) Credit: Raymond Felton #2 of the Knicks lays the ball up against Wade #3, James #6 of the Heat. (Getty)

The Knicks are 3-0 to start the season for the first time in 13 years. For some perspective, current reserves Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby shared the locker room with Patrick Ewing the last time that happened.

And much like the 1999-00 Knicks, the 2012-13 squad is getting the job done on the defensive end. The Knicks of 13 years ago allowed just 83 points per game in their opening three matchups, only slightly better than the league-best 85.3 ppg surrendered by these Knicks thus far.

The current Knicks are shutting down opponents in part by forcing them into taking bad shots. After the season-opening win over the Miami Heat and two victories against the Philadelphia 76ers, opponents are shooting just 40.7% against the Knicks.

Say what you will about the Sixers, but the defending-champion Heat are 3-1 and have averaged 121 ppg in their three victories. They are the highest-scoring team in the league. That the Knicks were able to hold Miami 37 points below their average is all the more impressive.

The Knicks' next tests come against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday and the Orlando Magic next Tuesday. Those clubs are the third- and second-highest scoring in the NBA, respectively.

If the Knicks can continue holding teams under 90 - or even 100 - points, their fourth-ranked scoring offense should have what it takes to run them to 5-0 for the first time since 1993, a season where the Knicks pushed the Houston Rockets to Game 7 in the NBA Finals.

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