For fans of the New York Knicks, the 21st century has been a tough one. The 1970 and 1973 champion team rubbed shoulders with the greats for decades. It was rare for him to miss out on the playoffs. In 1999 he lost his last NBA final and in 2000 he fell in the Eastern Conference final. Since 2001, however, he has missed out on the playoffs in most seasons and had only made it past one round in 2013. Until this year. For the first time in a decade, the Knicks are through a playoff.
The New York team finished fifth in the Eastern Conference in the regular season and had to face the Cleveland Cavaliers of Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland. This Wednesday they have won at home with some comfort (95-106) in the fifth game of the series and qualify with a 4-1. He will face in the Eastern Conference semifinals the winner of the tie between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat, who surprisingly dominate those from Florida.
The Knicks have dominated the game and the series with relative ease. This Wednesday they took the lead 26-33 in the first quarter, they reached the break with a 10-point advantage (51-61), they extended the difference to 12 in the third quarter and they managed their lead in the final stretch of the game.
Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett have led their team in attack, with 23 and 21 points, respectively. Brunson left Dallas at the end of last season and has triumphed in his first season, mixing well with Julius Randle and RJ Barrett. This Wednesday, but the win was built on Mitchell Robinson’s 18 rebounds and Josh Hart’s 12.
In Cleveland, Mitchell beat LeBron James in the regular season as the Cavaliers player with more than 40 points in the most games (12) during the same season. He came to add 71 points in a game. However, coming into the playoffs both he and Garland have been unable to maintain consistency. In Game 4, Mitchell scored 11 points in 42 minutes after going 5-for-18 from the field, in one of his worst games of the season. In the third it was Garland who punctured.
In the fifth and final, they haven’t been too bad shooting, but the Knicks have dominated under the boards with 48 rebounds, to Cleveland’s 30. The difference in offensive rebounding (17-4) has been abysmal. Those extra possessions have made the difference and allowed New Yorkers to have the most joy in a decade.
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