The Knicks have been sent “on vacation,’’ as Hawks center Clint Capela promised.
The Knicks weaved a wonderful 41-31 regular season, but the Hawks proved it to be an inflated ledger in taking them out in five.
Atlanta outclassed the Knicks all series, eliminating them with a 103-89 victory Wednesday at the Garden in Game 5.
Capela was a huge factor in wiping the glass with 14 points and 15 rebounds, and shoving them into an offseason of potential promise with $60 million of cap space and two first-round picks. The Knicks missed injured center Mitchell Robinson in the series.
The Garden crowd showered the Knicks with a standing ovation in the final 50 seconds.
I was going to use this for a theoretical Game 6, but it works for now, as well.
Sorry for the thread delay, but I figured we all wanted to sit with the loss a bit first before we really fully reacted to it.
Okay, first things first, boy, that sucked.
Second thing, that crowd serenade was nice.
Third thing, I get wanting the starters on the court to celebrate their first playoff win, but I hope Nate eschews that approach if they win another series. Trae’s antics don’t really bother me (you know Knick fans would love it if the situations were reversed and that was a Knick doing those antics), but he really didn’t need to be out there to do the antics.
Fourth thing, as I joked in the opening of the game thread, Thibs soon realized that he needed Derrick Rose to start the game for the Knicks to have a chance, but he then also needed Derrick Rose to come off the bench for the Knicks to not fall apart when Derrick Rose rested. In other words, the Knicks were in a lose-lose situation at the point.
Fifth thing, with that in mind, though, while Thibs was right to lean on Rose, we saw last night that doing so likely led to Rose’s body giving out. As soon as he got hurt, this series was truly over. Rose just can’t play big minutes anymore. It’s simply not in his current physical capabilities.
Sixth thing, as even Berman noted, the Knicks really missed Mitch. However, they also missed a healthy Noel. After a season with really good health luck (where their one major injury was at a position where they had basically an only slightly discounted version of the injured player ready to fill in and then got a seemingly washed up veteran who was so good that he often closed out games), they had bad injury luck this series with Noel getting hurt early and Rose getting hurt late.
Seventh thing, we all get by now that it’s almost assuredly true that the downside of Thibs treating every game like it is Game 7 means that the Knicks have no extra gear left for the playoffs, while other teams A. Put more effort into the playoffs B. Play shorter rotations C. Don’t rest players and D. Spend the time on film that Thibs always does in the regular season. That’s an issue, I just don’t think it’s a major one. Getting the fourth seed instead of the ninth seed is a good thing. You just hope Leon Rose gives Thibs even better players in the future, so playoff letdowns will be less of an issue.
Eighth thing, Chandler Parsons was signed away from the Mavericks on a max contract while recovering from knee surgery following a mediocre Age 27 season. Julius Randle was just an All-Star and will possibly be an All-NBA player. He’s getting maxed out by someone if he holds off until next offseason to sign a deal following his age 27 season. Maybe it shouldn’t be the Knicks, but it will happen regardless. Don’t think that his shitty series here will suddenly limit his max offers.
Ninth thing, however, the shitty series likely does cap out all the other Knick free agents at the midlevel (not counting Taj or Payton. The former because he’s too old and the latter because he’s awful). That’s still $40 million for the Knicks to bring them all back, and likely not one year deals. So who knows what happens there.
Tenth thing, with how much the Knicks relied on a career resurgence by Derrick Rose, it does highlight that there are serious questions about how good this team will be next year. They’re in a great position, cap-wise and draft picks- wise, but there are so many question marks that this could go either way easily.
Final thing, this was still a very fun season and I’m glad we all had each other to share this with.
Let’s go, win the offseason, Knicks!