The 66th season of New York Knicks basketball has come and gone. Two of the 66 have ended in NBA titles, 39 have ended at some point during the postseason, and 25 were without any playoffs whatsoever. Thinking about this is quickly getting depressing, but despite the 2011-12 season ultimately being a disappointment, it wasn't without great moments.
That's right...this Knicks season was pretty damn exciting if anything else. While the MILPCAT never materialized (if you don't know what MILPCAT is that means you don't read the best Knicks blog in the universe, our very own Posting and Toasting, and that also means that you generally suck at being a Knicks fan), the season was a wild ride that will own a place in the memory of Knicks' fans. Yes, we all thought the Knicks would be big time contenders back in December when the lockout was lifted and Tyson Chandler came aboard. But most of us didn't know who Jeremy Lin was back then, or that we'd end up loving Steve Novak, and we honestly didn't know until watching him every night that J.R. Smith was really that insane.
So before we get to the roster moves that have to be made, the necessary adjustments for guys like Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, and whether or not Mike Woodson is the right long-term head coach for the Knicks (all questions that will make you vomit if you think too hard about them), let's take the time to look back at the Top 5 games from the 2011-12 Knicks season:
5. The Streak Ends
After dropping the first three games of their first round series against the Miami Heat, the Knicks had set a new NBA record for playoff futility, losing their 13th consecutive postseason game. Game 4 presented a chance to at least break the streak and extend the Knicks' season by a few days, and Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire delivered, at least for once. Anthony showed off his big-shot making ability, and Stoudemire gave an inspired effort in returning early from his self-inflicted, fire extinguisher case-breaking hand injury. Oh yeah, and Mike Bibby hit the biggest shot of the season. Wheeeeeeee!
4. Playoff Clincher In Milwaukee
The Knicks' win over the Bucks on April 11 didn't literally clinch a playoff spot, but it all but ensured the Knicks would be playing playoff ball again. Thankfully for the Knicks, J.R. Smith's good side picked a heck of a time to show up, late in the fourth quarter in drilling what essentially was the game-clinching three. Anthony had his then-customary 32 points, and five other Knicks scored in double figures in probably the most crucial win of the regular season.
3. Lin's Late Three Sinks Toronto
Jeremy Lin had seemingly done it all in the first five games of Linsanity; beating Kobe and the Lakers, dunking, etc. One thing he'd yet to do? Hit a last second, game-winning shot. Check.
The Knicks made a frantic comeback late in the fourth quarter with a lot of the credit going to Iman Shumpert for his great defense on Jose Calderon, including a late steal-and-dunk that kept the Knicks in it. With the score tied and the Knicks with the ball and the chance to take the last shot, the play was "Get out of Lin's way". Worked like a charm, as Lin decided to pull up and take a straight-on three, which he of course nailed. The Knicks' sixth straight win got them to within a game of .500 (well done, D'Antoni!)
2. Melo's Moment
After Mike D'Antoni
was pushed out the door by Carmelo Anthony resigned, Carmelo Anthony seemed immediately galvanized. All of a sudden, ‘Melo looked like a guy that you can actually build a winning team around. Whether that's ultimately the case remains to be seen, but on Easter Sunday, Anthony had his first truly great Knicks moment, dropping 43 points in an OT victory. Anthony hit two clutch threes, one late in regulation, one late in overtime to lift the Knicks.
1. Linsanity's Official Arrival
Yeah, this whole Linsanity thing was nice...an unknown comes out of nowhere and becomes the star player for the New York Knicks, leading them to a few wins. Nice story, but really, this guy wasn't any good right? Look at the team's he's beaten; the Nets, the Jazz, the Wizards. Now the Lakers were coming to town, on a Friday night, on national TV, ready to play the role of buzz saw. So what did Lin do? Dominate the game to the tune of 38 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds, outscoring Kobe Bryant. The performance had The Garden rocking for a regular season game like never before. What's probably most impressive is that Lin led the Knicks to a win on a night when his starting lineup included Jared Jeffries (32 minutes played) and Bill Walker (30). While a knee injury ended Lin's season early, Linsanity gave us in two weeks a season's worth of memorable moments.