How Knicks, Thunder can stay hot

Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant keeping their teammates involved

Updated: December 17, 2012, 2:49 PM ET
By David Thorpe | ESPN Insider

Carmelo Anthony, Kevin DurantGetty ImagesThe Knicks and Thunder are hot because of Carmelo Anthony's and Kevin Durant's unselfish play.

Coaches love to get their teams focused on one game at a time, then one half, one quarter, one possession -- you get the idea. It's a proven strategy in basketball because it is too hard to spend time thinking about anything other than what is happening right now.

Being "in the moment" as much as possible is a team's recipe for playing its best as often as possible. Along with a favorable schedule, it is how a team can string together a bunch of wins. Indeed, half the league is more or less bunched together talent-wise, and any team can beat another on a given night, as we saw when the Washington Wizards beat the Miami Heat on Dec. 4.

Winning a bunch of games in a two-week span is something that can single-handedly catapult a team into the playoff race. Here's a look at the Oklahoma City Thunder and New York Knicks, two teams that have zoomed to the top of their conferences thanks to brilliant play while taking advantage of a weak 10-game stretch.

Tomorrow we will focus on streaking contenders, the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers, as well as a team streaking in the wrong direction: the Charlotte Bobcats.


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