What excitement the last month has been, nonetheless. The hiring of Phil Jackson, the eight-game win streak. Then came the big wins over the Indiana Pacers and Brooklyn Nets. All this took place while the Atlanta Hawks were in a tailspin. Then one day, almost magically, the Knicks were occupying the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
What a great day for the Knicks, the media. Destiny had righted the Knicks’ course. For one day, we forgot about Amar’e Stoudemire’s knees. For one day, we forgot about Andrea Bargnani’s wrist injury and lost presence. For one day, we forgot about Kenyon Martin’s ankle. For one day, we forgot about Raymond Felton’s arrest, lack of offense and defense most of the season. For on that day, Carmelo Anthony was staying in New York and the Phil Jackson and his triangle were right around the corner. For one day, we forgot about Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih, two former champions, jettisoned off to NBA Siberia. For one day, Coach Mike Woodson had his job back.
But reality kicked in a harsh way in the form of the Washington Wizards. This was compounded by the Miami Heat loss Sunday, so today, the Knicks again look at a two-game deficit behind the Hawks. These back-to-back losses essentially closed the book on the Knicks’ 2013-14 season.
It kills to to think of teams, prior NBA doormats, like the Charlotte Bobcats, the Wizards, Toronto Raptors, on top of the Knicks. With two weeks remaining in the NBA’s regular season, the Hawks have the easier schedule. The Hawks must lose out their remaining games, but that is hard to do when playing both the Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics before traveling to Brooklyn. The Hawks than close out the season against Miami, Charlotte and Milwaukee The Hawks have played with heart lately.
Given how the team has played in its last two games against Cleveland and Indiana, I don’t see them losing to Detroit or Milwaukee. Sunday against the Pacers, the Hawks stood up, played hard and won. They offered no reasons for recent losses, only results when results mattered.
The season would have been different if for one day, one last play, Carmelo didn’t take the last shot. The hardest place to attack an offense, is from the top of the key. Anthony is not a point guard and no one has told him that yet this season. The Knicks’ end of game management this season is the reason we are not moving forward. Woodson spoke defense rhetoric all season and yesterday in the second half his team again played minimal defense.
The Knicks have four games remaining this season: two against Toronto, as well as Chicago and Brooklyn. Guess the Kyle Lowry trade looks good right now. Yes, the games are “winnable,”, but the hole the team has dug with the past two losses is probably too great to overcome. The Knicks must go 4-0 while the Hawks must undergo a Red-Sox type of breakdown.
Yet, in spite of all of the above, you have got to love our Knicks. With a lame duck coach, new President, no real GM, our super star, injured and an impending free agent they are still exciting. I will continue to watch every game game, read every article. With the Knicks you can’t stop watching or following them for ONE DAY. Evan in our loss to the Heat records were set. J.R. Smith, shot 22 three pointers, made ten ( a new Knick record) and gave the Knicks hope.
The Knicks’ season may be over. But us the fans will hold on to that one day and plan now for next season.