The season that began with a Lockout ended with the Knicks falling to some lock-down defense from the Miami Heat.
The rollar-coaster season the Knicks have endured finally came to an end tonight in a 106-94 loss to the Heat in Game 5 of their first round playoff series. Carmelo Anthony led New York with 35 points and eight rebounds. The Heat were led by LeBron James’ near triple-double of 29 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
In a game the Knicks obviously needed to win, they got off to a nice start. With nice ball movement, the Knicks opened up a 20-14 lead on the Heat. Mike Bibby, pressed into starting point guard duties with an injury to Baron Davis in Game 4, got off to a fantastic start. He scored eight points and had three rebounds and two assists in the opening quarter, giving the Knicks all they could have expected from him for the entire game.
However, the start by the Knicks wasn’t good enough. The Heat looked tentative and nervous to start the game, missing three of their first four shots, however, James would get himself going at the free throw line, going 7-for-8 in the first period. Miami ended the first quarter with a 14-4 run to take the lead.
And the Knicks would never get it back.
The Heat began asserting themselves in the second quarter, led by Dwayne Wade’s 12 points after going scoreless in the first. The Heat grabbed a 10-point lead with just under five minutes left in the half on a strong driving dunk by James. The Knicks responded with a 6-0 run, leaving them with a 44-40 deficit with three minutes left in the half. But he Knicks’ issues with closing quarters continued tonight, as Miami went on a 11-4 run in the to end the half up 55-44.
The Knicks had a chance to get back into the game in the third quarter, as Miami found themselves in the bonus after just the first three and a half minutes. However, the Knicks would shoot just six free throws in the period. As Miami clamped down on defense (the Knicks shot just 32% in the third) they built an 18-point lead and finished the quarter up 81-67.
Miami maintained a huge lead, leading 96-77 with 5:47 left in the game, when the Knicks managed to put together one last, teasing run. A 9-1 run put the Knicks down 97-86 with just under three and a half minutes left. But the Knicks would pull no closer, eventually falling 106-94.
After his strong 20 point, 10 rebounds performance in Game 4, Amar’e Stoudemire was almost a non-factor. He scored 14 points on 4-for-7 shooting from the floor and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. However, he collected just four rebounds and played just 31 minutes. He fouled out in the fourth quarter.
In what could possibly have been his last game as a Knick, J.R. Smith scored 12 points on 3-for-15 shooting. Smith shot just 32% from the floor in the five games against Miami and went an un-godly 5-for-28 from beyond the arc. While Smith has a player option worth $2.5 million for next season, in responding to Knicks fans asking for his exit on twitter, he had this to say:
— JR Smith (@TheRealJRSmith) May 10, 2012
An off-season full of questions now starts for the Knicks. Who will be the head coach? Will Jeremy Lin be back or will a new point guard run the New York offense? What’s going to happen with Landry Fields and Josh Harrelson? Can the Knicks find a way to bring Steve Novak? So as the playing season ends, it’s now the front office’s turn to play their game and make this squad a true contender going forward.
We’ll be covering all these questions and more, as the offseason settles in.