Forget what happens tonight inside Madison Square Garden. Heck forget what happens, even if the Knicks live to see another day. The writing is on the wall folks and guess what? It has been for sometime. This year’s Knicks team was over-rated. In reality they exceed most people’s expectations, including myself. On my pre-season special of #ArdenSportsTalk, I had the Knicks as the fifth best team in the East, yes the fifth best! I wasn’t sure about sure their point guard situation or their advancing age. I definitely wasn’t sure about Melo and Amar’e playing together. I just couldn’t trust the Knicks to the point where, I looked at them as a legitimate title contender. But November 2nd happened, the day that have us where we’re at today.
After their original season opener against Brooklyn was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy, the scene was set on that fateful Friday night inside Madison Square Garden. The champs were here! The nemesis is in the building! Obviously we are talking about the Miami Heat. You know the team that has LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh? Yup that’s the one, I’m talking about. What was a better way (or worse) to start the season then play the defending champions in YOUR building. And then when you add the emotional factor of how New Yorkers, Long Islanders and New Jersey residents felt during the aftermath of Sandy, you knew that game was a must win. PERIOD. No way they can lose. In a time of serious need, New Yorkers and other residents nearby look towards their sports teams for serious support and to help the healing process go a little faster. Take their minds far away from the trouble they were facing and that’s what the Knicks did.
Nineteen three’s and a 104-84 victory later, the ball start rolling for the Knicks. They made New York proud. But on that very same night, expectations began to rose. “OMG, I think the Knicks can win a championship! Miami Who? We’re better than them! Melo for MVP!” C’mon Knicks fans be honest. You were anything but humble that night. It was yours! Go ahead and enjoy it. What soon followed was a 18-5 start that got fans believing more in their team and even outsiders to jump on the bandwagon. Melo was playing incredible ball and Woodson looked like a coaching genius. It’s easy to say what happened after, but then this post will be no fun and the point of it would be knocked out. Of course, we know about the second seed in the East. Of course we know about the 54 games won. Of course we know they won the Atlantic Division for the first time in NINETEEN YEARS! Of course we know Carmelo won the scoring title and JR Smith was awarded the 6th Man of the Year. And of course we know about #KnicksTape (Thanks a lot Shump).
But what don’t you know about this team? Good question. Did you know outside of the 18-5 start and the 13 game winning streak towards the end of April, that from December 17th until March 18th, the Knicks were a .500 ball club? Seriously they were. Over a span of 42 games, the Knicks were 21-21. Think about that. The two biggest streaks, the Knicks had this season made up of 36 Games! They play 82 Games in the NBA! Also during that same stretch, they went 5-14 against teams that actually made the playoffs this year. What else don’t you know about this team? Oh I got it. Did you know Carmelo Anthony, the same guy you folks proclaimed to be a superstar and a legitimate MVP candidate, had a two month span where he only averaged 25 PPG on just 40% shooting from the field and 27% from three? He also missed six games during those two months because of injury.
Listen, I understand my article may sound like I’m bashing the Knicks but I’m really not. Is this team good? Yes. Are they’re a playoff contender? Absolutely, but they never were serious title contenders. This is a team that doesn’t have a identify on both sides of the floor. Their three point strategy is more of a gimmick because of their willingness to attempt three’s regardless of the game situation. If you really looked closely at the Knicks’ losses this season and even against Indiana this post season, there is a common factor: Teams took away the three from the Knicks! Like I mentioned a few sentences prior, this is a team willing to take three’s. At times this season, they have taken as much as forty three’s a game. Think about that. In fairness, this is a team full of shooters so it shouldn’t be surprising that they do, but the surprise came in how teams defended it. Most of them wouldn’t put effort in defending the three ball! Some were too busy, focusing on shutting down the lane and letting them take those shots. DUMB IDEA! That’s what the Knicks do. They live and die by the three point shot.
Now as we are a few hours away from Game Five, the writing on the wall for the NY Knicks continues to grow. More questions about their roster is coming up. Woodson’s coaching ability is now in question. The organization itself is taking a lot of heat. These are tough times in NY. A season full of excitement and high hopes could come crashing down any moment. The future isn’t dark but it’s not too bright either. The Knicks can’t really make a lot of moves due to limited cap space and trade assets. Regardless of what happens tonight, this weekend or even next year, just remember this one thing. The writing is on the wall for the New York Knicks. Just accept it and hope for the best…