Raymond Felton could return this Saturday against the Philadelphia 76ers. Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Blame the Shuffling Lineup for the New York Knicks' Slide

For the first twenty-seven games of the NBA season, the New York Knicks played great basketball. They looked unstoppable at times. The Knicks defeated top teams like the Miami Heat (twice) and San Antonio Spurs. Winning was easy.

Then on Dec. 25, 2012, the Knicks received devastating Christmas Day news. Starting point guard Raymond Felton sprained his finger against the Los Angeles Lakers. Felton has been out of the lineup ever since.

Removing the starting point guard from the lineup is enough to disrupt any NBA team. But the shuffling did not end there. Two of the Knicks’ recent losses came with Anthony out of the lineup. On Dec. 28, 2012, the Knicks lost to the Sacramento Kings while Anthony nursed a hyperextended left knee. On Jan. 10, 2013, the Knicks lost to the Indiana Pacers as Anthony served a one-game suspension.

Shuffling, shuffling.

The Knicks lost Rasheed Wallace, a key contributor off the bench, in mid-December. Amar’e Stoudemire made his return on New Year’s Day, but the Knicks have lost five out of nine games with him. The Knicks are happy to have Iman Shumpert back, but this will be yet another adjustment for the team.

The Knicks’ struggles are due to the shuffling lineup. They are simply out of sync right now. Felton may play this Saturday against the Philadelphia 76ers. His return could be the beginning of normalcy, consistency and winning.

Edwin Torres was born in New York City. He has been a Knicks fan since the early 1980s. He has visited Madison Square Garden on many occasions to watch the Knicks and his favorite player, Patrick Ewing. For more articles, follow him on Twitter @FlipPoker.

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