The New York Knicks season came to an abrupt end Saturday night losing Game 6 to the Pacers, 106-99. The Knicks blew their shot at pushing the series back to New York for Game 7 and a shot at making it to the Eastern Conference finals to face LeBron James and the Heat.
The Knicks’ best season in more than a decade went to waste as the Knicks and their superstar, Carmelo Anthony, wilted over the final minutes of the game.
Carmelo Anthony had one of his best games in the series, scoring a game-high 39 points, going 15-of-29 from the field, but he disappeared late in the game when the team needed him the most. The Knicks had a chance to build on their two-point lead in the fourth quarter but Anthony went cold, and the Pacers went on a run that ended the Knicks’ season.
But the loss wasn’t Anthony’s fault. Anthony kept the Knicks in the game, and he seemed to be the team’s only scoring hope, at one point scoring 17 of 22 of the Knicks’ points between the second and third quarter. Anthony finally got help in the second half as Iman Shumpert 16 third-quarter points (19 points total, going 5-of-6 from beyond the arc), and helped the Knicks rally back, but the Knicks never led by more than three points—too bad the defense was awful.
The Knicks’ defensive problems continued as the team was unable to stop anything. Roy Hibbert had another dominant performance (21 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks), and Lance Stephenson hurt the Knicks in every way possible; scoring, rebounding, playing tough defense, just out-hustling everybody. Stephenson scored 25 points, making 9-of-13 field goals and 7-of-8 free throws, while Paul George had 23 points for Indiana.
What in the world happened to Tyson Chandler? He had an awful series against the Indiana Pacers, and got owned by Pacers center Roy Hibbert. Chandler could only muster two points, six rebounds with zero blocks and fouled out late in the fourth quarter.
The Knicks also couldn’t get production from starting point guard Raymond Felton, who missed all seven of his shots, scoring only two points with six assists.
There are a lot of questions the Knicks have to deal with this offseason, starting with what to do with their starters—a unit that could only score 68 points and 19 rebounds in Game 6. Who to bring back and who not to bring back? What to do with J.R. Smith, who struggled mightily in the playoffs? Who can they bring in to improve their defense?
The Knicks and their fans had high expectations going into the playoffs as the No. 2 seed, and they didn’t expect their season to come to an end this early. It’s going to be a long offseason for the organization.