The Knicks’ 4-4 record may not look all that impressive at first glance, but if you take into account the difficulty of that slate, it is nothing to scoff at.
It is among the toughest schedules in the NBA through eight games.
Of those opponents, only the Spurs weren’t a postseason team a year ago.
It has included the Celtics, Bucks, Clippers and Cavaliers twice, and two sets of back-to-backs.
And now the schedule lightens up.
The Knicks host the Hornets on Sunday at the Garden, and of their next 12 games, eight are against teams that didn’t reach the main draw of the playoffs last season.
Half of them, it should be noted, are on the road.
But it definitely is considerably easier than the opening few weeks.
RJ Barrett is off to a fantastic start, and most importantly from the perimeter.
It’s only six games, a small sample size, but the 23-year-old wing is shooting a robust 47.1 percent from 3-point range on 5.7 attempts per game.
Last year, he shot a career-worst 31 percent from deep.
“I think I’ve been just trying to work on it, make sure my touch is right because they’re going to leave me open with Jalen [Brunson] and Julius [Randle] constantly getting in the paint,” he said. “So I got to knock my shots down.”
Typically a slow starter, it has come after a strong showing in the FIBA World Cup playing for Canada.
“Definitely was a big moment for me as a player. And then just now continuing to do the same things that I know work for me,” Barrett said.
Isaiah Hartenstein had arguably his best game of the young season in the win over the Spurs, producing 13 points, three rebounds and two steals in 15 quality minutes.
So far this year, he is averaging 6.9 points, up from the five he managed a season ago, in an even 17 minutes.
“I thought the first half of last year, he was just trying to figure it out. And I think the second half of last year, he played really, really well for us. And I think he picked up where he left off,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I think he’s gotten stronger, he’s finishing through contact a lot better. He’s always been a very gifted passer. It allows you to open the floor.”