Now that the New York Knicks season is over, there are so many ways we could look back at their season and go over all the things they did wrong – injuries, coaching changes, over eight different starting lineups – overall just very hard to create any cohesiveness for a team that had such a tough first round playoff matchup.
Even though we can attribute not going far in the playoffs to all these reasons, I still think we shoulve made a bigger improvement than winning one more playoff game in a series than the previous year because if we go at that rate, it won’t be another three years until we even make it out of the first round.
I truly think that this years downfall was not due to these reasons -I think Iman Shumpert could have definitely helped the Knicks lock up one of the two superstars (LeBron James and Dwyane Wade) and I think Baron Davis could have helped a lot in Game 5 since we lacked a point guard and I think Jeremy Lin could have controlled the point a lot better, but do you actually think that we could have beaten the Miami Heat in a 7 game series? Enough making excuses!!!
I think the major reason the Knicks lost was plain and simple. They had the wrong playoff matchup.
New York had way too many costly losses during the season to teams 20 games under 500 – eight losses to be specific fit under this category.
The Knicks started the season off 2-4, with three of those losses coming to Charlotte (worst winning percentage in NBA history), Toronto (a team that has losy any hope of being a playoff team since becoming Bosh-less) and Golden State (a team that has had no defense, since let me think about this – ever). So already the Knicks are off to bad start.
Then, down the road in the season there are losses to Cleveland (21-45), New Orleans (21-45), New Jersey(22-44) and Toronto again (by a whopping 17 points).
This brings me to the end of the season which the Knicks finished strong under Mike Woodson (13-5) but suffered two of their costliest losses of the season.
The first was against Indiana, one of the most disappointing losses I have seen, where they were up 15 points going into the fourth quarter and the Knicks got too cocky. J.R. Smith was chucking up shots. Baron Davis was doing absolutely nothing, and the defense was transparent.
Then comes the most annoying loss of all year. It comes down to last five games when I’m calculating how we can get that No.6 spot from the Orlando Magic and play Indiana instead of having to face the Chicago Bulls or the Heat in the first round.
All the Knicks needed to do was win their last five games, which was very manageable since we played the Nets, Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, the Chris Paul-less Los Angeles Clippers and the Bobcats.
At the same time, the Magic needed to lose four out of their five last games, which was also very likely to happen since they were without Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu and they were playing very tough teams down the stretch.
Everything worked out well as the Magic lost four out of the five.
But the whole plan was foiled by the Knicks losing one game – not to the to the Clippers or Hawks but to the Cavlaiers.
They decided to rest Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony for the fourth quarter and lost by eight.
I do not what was going through the mind of Woodson – did he know that this game actually mattered and could have been the deicing factor for which team the Knicks would play in the playoffs?
Instead of playing the Pacers in the first round, which they could have done if had they won, and instead of playing the Bulls, the Knicks drew the Heat, the one team you do not want to play in the first round.
When it comes to wins and losses, if the Knicks just win one out of these eight games to teams 20 games under .500, the Knicks would have had the No. 6 seed and played Indiana. If we did lose all these games and not let Indiana come back from down 15 in the fourth quarter, making it one of the most embarrassing losses of the season, the Knicks also would have drawn the Pacers.
But I guess that basketball and it just goes to show that every game during the season matters.