Jan 17, 2013; London, United Kingdom; New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler (left) celebrates with Carmelo Anthony (7) while on the bench during the game against the Detroit Pistons, at the O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Paul Cunningham-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks face huge upcoming stretch

The New York Knicks got their break to heal up some bumps and bruises. Now they have to get back to work.

Jan 17, 2013; London, United Kingdom; New York Knicks forward Amar

After playing only one game last week- defeating the Detroit Pistons in London- the Knicks face a tough stretch of four games this week with the first three being against Atlantic Division rivals in Brooklyn, Boston and Philadelphia in the next six days, before facing the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.

With the Knicks lead down to only two games over the Nets in the division, you can make the  case that this is the biggest stretch of games the Knicks have faced this season so far and the Knicks know the importance of what is ahead of them.

“Big, big, big stretch for us,” Amar’e Stoudemire told ESPN’s Jared Zwerling. “Those are three tough games.”

The Knicks will host the Nets Monday afternoon but play at Boston on Thursday and at Philadelphia on Saturday before returning to the Garden on Sunday to play the Hawks.

It all comes down to getting off to hot starts, something the Knicks finally did against the Pistons in London.

It also will come down to how  well they defend the perimeter as they will have to deal with three point guards that give them trouble in Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo and Jrue Holiday, which makes Iman Shumpert’s return even bigger.

While the Knicks are only 7-8 in their past 15 games, the Nets are 10-2 during their past 12 and the Celtics are 6-2 in their last eight, including a win over the Knicks.

That makes it very important the next four days for the Knicks to slow down two of their division rivals.

They should have fresh legs, so the opportunity will be there do exactly that.

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