New York Knicks: Re-living the their last playoff appearance

Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks.
Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks. /
3 of 3
New York Knicks
New York Knicks. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers – Conference Semifinals

Most of the league was excited to see the Knicks quickly dismantle the Pacers to get to the Eastern Conference Finals. Everyone earnestly desired to see a rematch of LeBron vs. Carmelo in the playoffs.

The Knicks were embarrassingly thrown out of the 1st round of the playoffs (4-1) by Miami in the previous season. Along with the Stoudemire’s fire extinguisher incident and having many injuries on the team, the Knicks had all the excuses in their pockets. This was the year to really go head to head with the Miami Heat. But before that, they had to go through the defensive-minded Pacers.

The Pacers finished 3rd in the Eastern Conference and were coming off a series win against the Atlanta Hawks. This was Paul George’s third year in the league and the first year as the offensive leader of the team since Danny Granger was injured.

GAME 1: IND 102 – NYK 95 (1-0)

Carmelo Anthony had another inefficient night with the aggressive perimeter defense of Paul George and the interior defense of Roy Hibbert. Mike Woodson’s limited coaching ability really came to light once faced with a defense-intensive team.

His game-plan of “Let’s see if Melo can make shots tonight” approach was being exposed because of Carmelo’s shooting struggles. Carmelo’s Isolation-offense was very predictable and his lack of willingness to pass out of ISO’s allowed the Pacers to help alter his shot. He still scored 27 points and Raymond Felton followed with 18 but it was not enough to win in their first home game of the series.

GAME 2: IND 79 – NYK 105 (1-1)

The Knicks went off offensively on a 33-12 run in the 4th quarter of this game. We saw a lot of careless errors from the Pacers which led to the Knicks having 11 steals this game. There wasn’t much change to the game plan from either of the team but the Knicks’ perimeter shooting rejuvenating brought out the offensive dominance that the Knicks had at the beginning of the season. The series was tied and it looked like the Knicks were gaining control of the series again.

GAME 3: NYK 71 – IND 82 (1-2)

I always dub this the Roy “Chamberlain” Hibbert game. Because that’s what Tyson Chandler allowed this game to be. The Pacers brought out another level of intensity at their first home game of the series. While both teams did not shoot very well, the difference-maker was one Roy Hibbert. Tyson Chandler’s interior defense was abysmal and did not look anywhere close to the player that won the Defensive Player of the Year in the 2011 season. Indiana went back up 2-1.

GAME 4: NYK 82 – IND 93 (1-3)

Carmelo Anthony and the rest of the team had yet another rough shooting night in game 4 of the series. The Knicks were outrebounded 36 to 54 and they couldn’t stop George Hill from scoring. Another game where the Knicks simply could not keep up defensively with the Pacers.

GAME 5: IND 75 – NYK 85 (3-2)

Headed back to New York, the Knicks came ready to play in the elimination game. Mike Wooden never changed his game plan of letting Anthony score as much as he can and it worked again. Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points and with the help of the bench, the Knicks were able to comfortably defeat the Pacers on their horrendous shooting night. George Hill was out for this game due to a concussion and D.J. Augustin was not able to fill his shoes.

GAME 6: NYK 99 – IND 106 (2-4)

The very last time the New York Knicks experienced playoff basketball was at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana where the Knicks lost to the Indiana Pacers, 2-4, in the Conference Semifinals.

Contrary to the rest of the series, both teams had found their shooting touch in this game. Iman Shumpert was hitting 3’s out of nowhere and Carmelo Anthony was doing his thing. The game was tied 81-81 at the end of the 3rd quarter.

The Knicks were up 92-90 with around 5 minutes to go and Carmelo spun past Paul George and attempted to dunk the ball, only to be denied by Roy Hibbert at the rim. This defensive play by Hibbert started a 7-0 run that eventually led to the loss for the Knicks. Carmelo ended the night with 39 points on .517 shooting.

Woodson bet on this Carmelo-centric offense and it became its own demise as the Knicks would not make the playoffs with Carmelo Anthony on the team ever again. Perhaps this series was an indicator of what was to come in the NYK – Carmelo era. It became a world of live and die by Carmelo and the Knicks know how that turned out.

We head into the 2021 playoffs looking ever so similar to this Pacers team than the 54 win Knicks. While the league has changed so much in the past 8, 9 years, it’s always good to look back to the team’s past to avoid past mistakes. It’s been a long drought for the Knicks and it is time to sit back and enjoy the ride that is about to come their way.

Next. Knicks Mock Draft 1.0. dark