I’m not optimistic about this series. I believe the Knicks are too inconsistent as a team to beat Miami. They haven’t shown the ability to beat the Heat this season, and I do not believe they’ll defeat Miami in this first round series. Having said that, I’m going to say this:
Knick fans should be pumped for this series.
This rivalry isn’t the Alonzo Mourning Heat vs the Patrick Ewing Knicks. I’d be hard pressed to believe we’ll see Mike Woodson hanging on to LeBron James’ leg during a brawl tomorrow. This isn’t a great rivalry yet. But it’s getting there. I absolutely hate the Miami Heat. Sure, I was not old enough to really appreciate the Heat-Knicks theatrics of the late 90’s. I can’t say that I ever witnessed Ewing postering Mourning, or that I saw Houston hit that game winning shot in game 5. However, this is the dawn of a new Heat-Knicks rivalry.
I don’t think that New York will win this series, but I’m still excited to watch the Knicks take their best swing at Miami. In order to be the best, you have to beat the best. Unfortunately for the Knicks, they’ll have to play the best in the first round. Were the Knicks to win this series, I think they’d have an excellent shot at the finals. This is a great opportunity for our Knicks. Sure, New York are underdogs, but it was just two seasons ago that the Knicks weren’t even in the playoffs.
Remember the Isiah days? And the rebuilding years after that? Madison Square Garden was draped in a permanent dark cloud for years. Now, a ray of light has graced itself upon the World’s Most Famous Arena. Given the circumstances, with Jeremy Lin’s injury, and the opponent, it is a small ray of light. But none the less, it is a ray of hope. The fact is that the Knicks are back to respectability. Are they a championship contender as of right now? No. However, for the first time since the late 90’s, they have the chance to prove that sentiment to be false. They’re actually in the playoffs! They’ve got talented players. Instead of having 300 pound centers wasting away on the bench, this team actually has star players and talent. New York has Carmelo Anthony, and they pried away the starting center from last year’s NBA Champions. This team is actually respectable for once. Rather than be marred with another 23 win season, Knicks fans now have something to cheer for this time of year. For once, there is hope with this Knicks team.
I see it on Twitter, or Facebook, or comment sections on various basketball websites. Knick fans everywhere believe that this team will defeat Miami. Admittedly, I believe that is delusion. As I’ve said many times, I think the Knicks will go down in either 5 or 6 games. I believe this Knick team has yet to prove they can be consistent shooting the ball. In three games this year, they’ve yet to prove they can stop the dynamic duo of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. They haven’t even been able to stop Chris Bosh. I guess what I’m trying to say is this: Knick fans must have some perspective.
Sure, I’ll be as deflated as anyone when the Knicks lose this series. I hate Miami. I wrote a damn English paper on how much I hate LeBron James and why. A New York first round upset would absolutely make my year. Knick fans deserve a great team, but this isn’t it. These Knicks are flawed and inconsistent. They have talent, but I don’t believe they’ve mastered how to play together as a sole, dominant unit. Remember, this team is a seventh seed. I appreciate the effort that the Knicks have shown over the past month and the high level of play they’ve demonstrated. This is one of my favorite Knick teams over the years, keep in mind that I’m only 18 years old. However, this is not a championship level team. Miami is a championship level team and they will win this series. However, and I’m as big a “championship or bust” minded person as there is, we must keep perspective. They’re not out of the woods yet, but keep in mind that this Knicks team was the laughing stock of the NBA from 2004-2009. This is a team that won just 29 games in 2009. Our Knicks have made great strides from the dark years of Isiah Thomas, Stephon Marbury and Auncha Browne-Sanders. Next season, we must hope that they’ll continue to make positive strides.
Keep in mind that our core group of players; Lin, Anthony, Stoudemire, Chandler, have not had a full off-season to gel together. Keep in mind that Jeremy Lin will not even play in this series. I give the Knicks about a 15% chance to take this series from the Heat. I believe the Knicks go down in 5 or 6 games. Do they have the potential to play well enough to win this series? Yes. Will they play to that potential consistently over this seven game series? No, I don’t believe so. Miami is a championship level contending team. The Knicks are not. New York will lose this series, but there is potential for a bright future at Madison Square Garden. We’ll all be crushed after the Knick season ends. I’ll be in a state of depression for about a week, and I won’t be the only one. However, we must keep in mind that this team was an absolute joke just two short years ago. The Knicks are by no means a great team, but they’re no longer the traveling circus that they once were. There is finally hope at the World’s Most Famous Arena. We should appreciate that. I certainly do.Follow @tarmosino