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The Buzz Is Back: Despite Loss, Does That Make The Knicks Winners?

Did the New York Knicks win despite losing to the Boston Celtics last night? If you are just looking for hope as a New York Knicks fan, looking for reasons to be excited, reasons to believe this team is playing meaningful basketball for the first time since 2004, then you can look at it that way.

Will Leitch at New York Magazine certainly is after the 118-116 loss by the Knicks which, of course, ended when Amare Stoudemire's potential game-winning three-pointer swished through the net a split-second too late for New York,

The Knicks lost 118-116 to the Celtics last night, but no one will ever consider the game a loss. ...  That's the underlining of the evening, the Coming Attractions, the perfect way to end a night when the Knicks showed everybody that this is going to keep being so, so fun.

The Knicks still have some issues - at this point, D'Antoni is essentially playing a six-man rotation - and a daunting schedule over the next month. But last night confirmed what we already knew: There is something different about this Knicks team.The basketball world is paying attention to New York again, but most important, New York is paying attention to the Knicks again. Hallelujah.

Even venerable Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan came away impressed by the Knicks, saying they "passed every eye test imaginable."

"We played them all night,'' said Stoudemire. "We played great basketball tonight. They just did a great job down the stretch. We definitely got our respect [from them]. I guarantee you Boston respects that we're going to bring it every night, and Boston knows it.''

The Knicks are flat-out fun. They can shoot, and they can really spread the floor. Had Stoudemire's shot been ruled good, he would have been the sixth Knick to hit a 3-pointer in this one. As for Felton, going from Larry Brown in Charlotte to Mike D'Antoni in New York has had the effect of springing the ex-North Carolina star from offensive incarceration. This guy was born to run, not walk the ball up the floor.

And believe everything you've been reading and hearing about Stoudemire. He is now a consummate inside-outside threat who has had more than 30 points in each of his last nine games, and whose 39 were the most deposited on the Celtics this season.

At LoHud, Sam Borden said it comes down to a simple thing -- the Knicks matter again.

The Knicks haven't mattered around here for a long time, not since Latrell Sprewell was running up and down the floor and the big man, Patrick Ewing, was grinding the last bit of cartilage off his knees. They mattered on Wednesday though. Mattered at the half, when Ray Felton banked in a 3-pointer at the horn to give the Knicks a seven-point lead on a Celtics team that is one of the best in the league. Mattered in the fourth quarter, when they were going back and forth with Boston, shot for shot, the whole place feeling like a prize fight. Mattered at the end, when Amar'e Stoudemire hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer that everyone in the building thought had won the game but replays showed came just a hair after the buzzer, leaving the Knicks with the toughest of losses, 118-116.

The Garden was alive on Wednesday, just like it was this past Sunday when the Knicks beat Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets, outran them in a dramatic fourth quarter, 129-125. It was the kind of game you picked up and couldn't put down; the kind of game you switched away from football to watch. Wednesday was another one, another track meet, another game that felt like the best kind of streetball you'll ever see. The Knicks have players now, have athletes who don't mind running up and down under D'Antoni, and that's what they did against the Celtics. It's what they've been doing all year. "When they're playing well," said Doc Rivers, the Celtics' coach and the old Knicks guard, "you still feel the buzz here."