But this wasn’t how it was supposed to end. Swept.
The Knicks were supposed to at least be able to win a few games, put up a fight in their first round playoff series against the Boston Celtics. Sure, Billups got hurt late in Game 1, and Stoudemire was injured for most of the series. But the Knicks had chances. They led late in the fourth quarter in Games 1 and 2, but couldn’t get a win. Coming home to their raucous home crowd, the Knicks were supposed to make this a series. They couldn’t, as they fell to the Celtics 101-89 as their season came to a close.
New York got simply out-executed, outworked, and outclassed in their home games, and the wait for a playoff victory for the franchise has to wait at least another year. A home playoff win? Well, that dubious streak also continues, and it will be more than a decade when they finally do win one.
In the coming days, there will be much discussion of the future of the Knicks. They have two stars in place in Anthony and Stoudemire, and they have the next few years to find the proper pieces to put around them. But who will be making those decisions? President and General Manager Donnie Walsh’s contract needs to be extended, and with the job he did in reviving the franchise, fans can only hope that owner James Dolan makes the right call and extends him. Then, Walsh and company will have to decide on whether or not Mike D’Antoni is the right guy to lead this ship. The way the Knicks played in the first two games of the series looked good for D’Antoni’s prospects. The final two? Not so much.
There will be plenty of analysis and discussion about these issues and more in the next few weeks. But for now, what was a positive season (and it was) for the franchise ended in the worst way possible.