It’s a hard knock life being a Knicks fan. After years of futility, it feels like every good thing that happens is just setting us up for more frustration at the hands of our favorite team. For example, just a few weeks ago, the Knicks looked pretty mediocre. After a hot start, they had settled back into the middle of the pack and weren’t doing to look like a serious threat for a title.
It was clear they were going to easily make the playoffs, and I was happy knowing that while they had no chance in the playoffs, at least they would make the first round competitive, maybe even advance to the second round, unlike last year’s route by the Heat.
Then the streak started.
The Knicks are playing better basketball right now than they have at any point in the last decade. JR Smith is out of control, and Melo is on a different level than everyone else right now. He is one week (albeit a grueling week in which the Knicks play five games, three against good teams) away from winning the NBA scoring title. The Knicks have won 13 in a row. They beat the Heat during the streak, but that didn’t count since the Heat were playing without Lebron, Wade, and Chalmers. However, after that they beat the Thunder, prompting NBA pundits from around the country to start saying that the Knicks just might be for real, and just might be able to make the East a two-team race for the Finals.
This should be great news. My favorite team is hot just in time for the playoffs. Yet, it feels like another carefully orchestrated scheme to crush me. It’s not that I believe the Knicks could steal the Finals, this is still Lebron and Durant’s NBA. It’s that part of me is starting to want to believe the Knicks could steal the Finals.
Granted, if a few of their big men don’t get healthy before the playoffs, no part of me will be optimistic, it might result in a playoffs as ugly as last year’s. We knew injury would be a problem this year, it’s part of the risk of running out a team that will be eligible for Social Security next month. However, a few of those big men should be healthy, and those old veterans have worked really well in this team. This Knicks team is one of those groups that gel, and when they play with discipline, are good enough to be legitimately dangerous in the post-season. Saying a two seed might be dangerous seems silly, but if you aren’t Miami, you’re the heavy underdog in the East. Also, this is the Knicks, a team that has made an art of turning the Mecca of professional basketball into a joke for so many years. Long gone are the days of Garden heroes like Patrick Ewing and Allan Houston.
Yet, perhaps this is the year when we get new heroes in Melo and Smith. Only heroics in the playoffs can make that a reality.
Honestly, I’d really be happy just to have Knicks playoff basketball that was competitive enough to be worth watching again. I just hope they aren’t getting me to believe just to deflate me later this month.