By Max Marcilla
Let’s get right to it Knicks Nation. At two separate occasions in the first half the Knicks found themselves down by double digits. They were getting outplayed, out hustled, and going into the locker room, outscored as they found themselves down by 8 points.
However, a team that for every single one of their 94 games that lived and died by the three-point ball, started to show life. In the first half, Carmelo Anthony was the only Knick with double-digit points at the end of the half with 20, as the next closest was Pablo Prigioni, a player that hardly shoots, with 6.
In the third, the Knicks got some scoring from a very unlikely source: Iman Shumpert. Shumpert has been nursing an injured knee the past few games, but he didn’t let it affect him in the quarter. While Anthony was back to “April form” scoring 15 points on 5/6 shooting, Shumpert was the superstar of the quarter. Iman scored the most points in a single quarter of his career by dropping 16 on 4/4 shooting from beyond the arc. He officially stepped up in a game that had few heroes for NY.
With all the momentum, and the game tied at 81, the Knicks and their fans were feeling confident in their chances to send the series back to The Garden.
However, a strong 4th by Indiana, led by Lance Stephenson, propelled the Pacers to a 7-point victory. The game changed when (from 4:50 left until 1:53 when the Knicks called a 20-second timeout) the Indiana Pacers went on a 9-2 run. After that, the Pacers held on to close out the Knicks.
Of course, as it is with a quarterback on a football team, the superstar will take the blame for a loss and take the credit for a win. Carmelo Anthony finally got out of the first round, but couldn’t advance again. Anthony had a tremendous game scoring a playoff high 39 points, and for only the second time all post-season he shot over 50%. However, when it mattered most in the fourth, Anthony was quiet. Possibly plagued by a rolled ankle he suffered late in the third, Melo shot 2/7, scoring only 4 points, and was charged with 3 turnovers. A great season for the MVP runner-up was shortened.
But the two biggest disappointments of the post-season were Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith, as they both continued their bad spells. Tyson Chandler played possibly his worst game of the post-season, making 1 of 6 shots and only grabbing 6 rebounds in 23 minutes. He also fouled out in the fourth. Roy Hibbert exploited Chandler yet again, making the once called “overpaid center” look like Hakeem Olajuwon.
J.R Smith was trying to shoot himself out of a slump, but couldn’t break out of a post-season long slump. Smith shot 4/15 in what may have been his last game in Orange and Blue. Smith is a free agent this offseason, and what team he will play for next year is highly questioned among the NBA world. He was a star for the Knicks all season, but collapsed when they needed him most.
Another player that shot poorly was Raymond Felton. Felton had a solid season, but shot 0/7 in a game that he was desperately needed. It was a disappointing end to a great “Part Two” to his Knick career, but fortunately for New York, he’ll be back next year.
The last player I’ll talk about is Iman Shumpert, a favorite of mine since he got drafted. Iman Shumpert has developed into a great player. He isn’t a superstar by any means, but is showing that he has the potential to be. Sparked by the best quarter of his career, Shumpert finished with 19 points on 6/10 shooting, and showed once again that he can be a great defender.
This was a season that had plenty of ups and a few downs for the Knicks. From opening night, a victory against one of the final teams left, the Miami Heat, to a 4 game losing streak on the west coast, to a series win against Boston, to the series loss against Indiana, it was one hell of a season for the Knickerbockers. No team wants to see their teams season end, but the Knick faithful have to finish the season with a smile on their face knowing their team just had their best season of the 21st century.
The motto of the Knicks since the beginning of the year, a motto printed on the back of their jerseys “Once a Knick, Always a Knick” will apply to this years group, as all 18 members of the 2012-13 Knicks will be remembered for a great season, whether they are back next year or not. Go Knicks!!!