Start fast

This holds true for individual games and out of the break. The Knicks can't keep falling behind early and playing catch-up. Mike Woodson should consider a lineup change. Five of their first eight games are against sub-.500 teams, and they have to capitalize.

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Health and freshness

The Knicks need their older veterans and key players who play a lot of minutes to be as right as possible mentally and physically for the postseason. Woodson might want to consider giving guys some games off.

Road warriors

The Knicks have a five-game western trip and 18 road games overall, including the Thunder, Heat, Clippers, Celtics, Bulls and Pacers. It's a tough schedule, but the Knicks must show the focus and defensive commitment that led to early season success.