The Knicks fought hard but ultimately lost 96 to 92 to the Heat, losing their Eastern Conference Semifinals series in six games. 

Don’t be sad that it’s over, be happy that it happened. Or something.

The Knicks put together a hard-fought game on the back of their bonafide star point guard Jalen Brunson, but their watch ultimately ended by virtue of a costly turnover and an air-balled three. After Jalen Brunson earned the team two free throws and the possession the hard way (aka an elbow to the face), the possibility was there for a completed comeback, but the Heat didn’t allow it to happen.

In the end, the Knicks came up against a more disciplined, better-shooting team, and weren’t able to come up with the timely hoops to match the Heat’s onslaught. But they showed more fight and pride in their last two games than they had in the previous two, and while it’s disappointing that the season is over, the fact that they were two games from the Eastern Conference Finals is more than all but the most optimistic Knicks’ fans expected going into this season.

Jalen Brunson was by far the standout of this game, with an already-incredible playoff series culminating in a 41-point performance that basically single-handedly kept the team in the game. The Knicks’ second-highest scorer was Julius Randle with 15, and Josh Hart and RJ Barrett scored 11 each. Isaiah Hartenstein didn’t produce the gaudiest statline but his defense was crucial in the second half, with quick hands and strong rim protection that the team’s offense fed off. RJ came out of the gate strong, attacking and drawing fouls at will, but failed to make an impact throughout the rest of the game. As was the case all series, the Heat’s role players stepped up, and the Knicks’ role players didn’t.

This team showed that they can compete, but the role players who were such a strength during the regular season failed to show up for most of the postseason. Without them, the ‘Bockers could only get so far.

There will undoubtedly be some questions the front office and roster have to ask themselves this summer, but as the season winds down, it’s hard to think of it as anything other than a success relative to expectations. How they build off this playoff run will be fascinating to see.

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