TORONTO - Go ahead. Admit it.
You’re glad the New York Knicks have finally been laid to rest.
Sure the Jeremy Lin run was a story anyone with a pulse could get behind, but the rest?
From Mike D’Antoni to Mike Woodson, from Iman Shumpert to Baron Davis and now Mike Bibby, was it really that impressive?
The whole can Amar’e play with Carmelo or more appropriately will Carmelo allow Amar’e to play with him?
All of it has been too much. Too much for the Knicks actual stature among the powers in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
With apologies to Tyson Chandler, a deserving defensive player of the year and the aforementioned Lin, the Knicks never should have been a major story line in the NBA season.
It’s just that everything in New York is big and made bigger by the insatiable media that follows the team.
The Eastern Conference this season has been about the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls and then everyone else.
But the Knicks have received more attention than just about anyone not playing in Miami or Chicago.
Indiana was a much more consistent team all season but they didn’t see that type of attention. Boston, Atlanta, Orlando also had better seasons.
By rights this series should have been over in four games. Only an uncharacteristically poor night at the free throw line in Game 4 by the Heat extended it and yet there was this sense that even going back to Miami the Knicks were still in it.
In truth, they weren’t.
It just took a lot longer to prove it. And now the focus can go back on the teams that actually warrant it.
WHAT'S UP WITH AMAR'E?
Maybe it’s just being at the AmericanAirlines Arena? Or maybe it’s the Miami weather? For whatever reason, visits to the home arena of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh just turns Stoudemire into a loose cannon.
The first visit to Miami ended with Stoudemire punching a glass-encased fire extinguisher and cutting his hand severely enough that it required surgery.
That tantrum cost him a game. The return visit Wednesday saw Stoudemire get his fifth foul with six minutes still remaining in the third quarter.
Stoudemire fouled out for good with his sixth with six to go in the fourth but not before he pulled off one more childish snit offering a hand up to Shane Battier and then pulling it away as Battier reached for it.
SOME REAL ANALYSIS
For about 98% of the series, Reggie Miller offered up next to nothing when it came to his analysis. But in one of his final takes on the series, Miller finally got something right. As the clock wound down on the fourth quarter, Miller looked ahead to the 2013-14 season for the Knicks and what had to happen. Miller correctly pointed out a key for the Knicks would be Carmelo Anthony showing up for the season in better shape than he has been all this season.
Anthony, as good a natural scorer as there is in the league, looked out of shape all season and Miller said as much.
As good as Anthony was carrying the extra weight, imagine how good he could be next season if he actually worked on his conditioning.
KUDOS TO BIBBY
Had we not seen it with our own eyes, we never would have believed it. Mike Bibby’s career was thought to be over, but the veteran point guard obviously had one more game in him.
With Baron Davis and Shumpert out with injury, the starting duties fell to Bibby and for a night the one-time member of the Heat chipped in with his best all-round statistical night of his season.
Bibby went 4-for-7 from the field for 10 points and had six assists and six rebounds. His play early on kept the Knicks close. If nothing else it was a little payback for the way Wade punked him earlier in the series when he tossed away Bibby’s shoe.
YOUNG OR JUST IGNORANT?
“Close-out games are actually kind of easy.”
Those words came back to bite Andrew Bynum in the behind after the immature Lakers big man decided to give the Nuggets one more little piece of incentive to beat them.
Now bulletin board material alone doesn’t win and lose games but in a season where there are few overly one-sided first-round battles (OK, we’ll give you Utah and Dallas), any edge when given by an opponent is too much.
Bynum talked before Game 5 how the team just one win away from closing out a series can take a team’s will away with a strong start.
But then Bynum came out anything but strong.
After the game he admitted he didn’t know why he started so poorly but pointed to his lack of touches for why he never got rolling.
Bynum can be a legitimate superstar in this league but he’s going to have to do a whole lot of growing up first.