And so ends what may go down as the wackiest season of any professional sports team in history.
The New York Knicks fell to the Miami Heat last night, dropping Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs in a mostly dreadful five games, their second consecutive first round failure. The game was largely a microcosm of the ‘Bockers maddening 2011-’12 campaign, replete with fits and starts, occasional flashes of cohesion, recurring episodes of incompetence and discombobulation, and harbingers of incongruity.
So what happened?
Well, when Mike Bibby plays an entire first quarter for you – scoring 8 points on 3-of-4 shooting (with two treys), grabbing 3 rebounds and collecting 2 dimes – and you’re still down 4 points, you kind of get the idea that it might not be your night. If the series-outcome seemed inevitable – notwithstanding the loss of Tyson Chandler (flu) and Iman Shumpert (knee) in Game 1, and Baron Davis (knee) in Game 5 – that’s because it was, and now the franchise will have an entire off-season to correct what went wrong.
What was painfully evident last night and throughout the series is that the Knicks are light years behind the Heat, not so much with respect to talent-level, but in terms of having the first clue whatsoever on how to play the game of basketball. Watching the team play – especially on the offensive side of the ball – is an exercise in self-mutilation. From J.R. Smith‘s incessant miscues to Carmelo Anthony‘s inability to elevate the play of others, from Tyson Chandler‘s manos de piedras to every Landry Fields jumper sans arc, every possession just feels like an chapter in Coach Norman Dale’s “What Not To Do On a Basketball Court.”
In truth, though a never-ending roller coast ride, this Knicks season, if nothing else, was a heckuva lot of fun. There was seemingly never a dull moment, and considering “the dark times” of the decade past, it would be hard to deny that things aren’t now looking up – or perhaps sideways – for the franchise.
So rather than perform a gory postmortem, let us reflect upon the good things that have happened since that Christmas Day victory over the Celtics. Let us compartmentalize our disappointment and our frustration, while acknowledging that the Knicks gave us six months of something to talk about. Let us not kid ourselves about the team being “one piece away” or assume definitively that the current pieces of their puzzle will never fit seamlessly.
Seriously, we have all summer to do that!
WHAT WENT RIGHT:
- The Knicks only had 13 turnovers on the night.
- The Knicks sank 18-of-21 free throw attempts.
- Josh Harrellson led the Knicks with a -1 plus/minus!
WHAT WENT WRONG:
- The Heat only had 10 turnovers on the night.
- The Heat sank 29-of-34 free throw attempts.
- Joel Anthony led the Heat with a +17 plus/minus!
Lots going on right now – which I am really excited to share with you in the coming days and weeks – so for more breakdown on last night’s game, make sure to visit Robert Silverman’s fantastic game story over at Knickerblogger and the always terrific Seth Rosenthal’s Posting and Toasting!
- Up next for the Knicks: Hot Stove Talk! Wait, what is NBA free agency speculation called, anyway?
Don’t forget to follow @LoHudKnickson Twitter.
Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images