Originally posted on Knicks Journal  |  Last updated 5/10/12


The New York Knicks' season finally came to a close Wednesday, with the team suffering a 106-94 loss to the Heat, giving Miami a 4-1 series victory in the first round.

Many of the things that plagued the Knicks in game five happened to plague them the entire series. New York struggled defensively throughout, with Tyson Chandler playing through flu-symptoms and Iman Shumpert sidelined with a knee injury.

The Heat have overwhelming offensive firepower as it is, but the fact that the Knicks were without their two top defenders at 100% each definitely gave way to further struggles.

Miami obviously has a strong balance of talent throughout the roster, making it difficult for an opponent to  pinpoint one main scoring option. The "Big Three" can hit you in a number of different ways, as evidenced in the 29 point performance by LeBron James in game five, as well as the 19 point contributions by each Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

The trio and their teammates have been building chemistry and rapport dating back to last season, taking time to understand each other offensively and do what they have to in order to succeed. Now in their second season together and expectations still as high as ever, the Heat have their sights set on the NBA Finals.

This is exactly why the Heat made quick work of the Knicks. Not only are they simply more talented, but they have a deeper understanding of what each other can on the court. They unselfishly find one another in the right spots, alternating between who's featured on offense. This keeps opponents guessing at all times.

The Knicks are clearly not at this level yet, and could thus learn a few things from the Heat. New York's core needs time to develop trust and camaraderie on the court.

During this time to develop, many questions will need to be answered. Can Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony co-exist on the court? If so, who will be the next Knicks point guard to tie things together? Will it be Jeremy Lin, Steve Nash, or someone else? Is there enough money to go around for players like J.R. Smith and Steve Novak in order to keep the bench intact?

But perhaps the most pressing question of all right now is whether or not Mike Woodson deserves to return as coach of the New York Knicks. Following a 18-6 record to finish out the year, it seems as though Woodson has the support of the players. With a defensive mentality pretty much second to none, the biggest question surrounding Woodson right now appears to be whether or not he can get his star players to gel.

What's more, Knicks brass will have to assess whether or not they believe Woodson can eventually bring a championship to New York. Having already won an NBA championship as an assistant coach of the Detroit Pistons, Woodson also made headlines as he helped the Hawks improve each year he was coaching. He certainly has promise.

Is promise enough, or would the Knicks rather go with a proven coach who can bring home the bacon like Phil Jackson? With the players already on board and fans growing impatient, perhaps it's best for the Knicks to buy in to Woodson's philosophy with a short-term contract to see if he can carry some momentum into next season.

Most, if not all of these questions to begin to be answered in the coming weeks. Hopefully it'll be a fun enough ride for all involved as the Knicks look to make improvements.

Carmelo Anthony led New York with 35 points, thriving in isolation, but the offensive production more or less stopped there for the Knicks. Amar'e Stoudemire, Steve Novak, and Tyson Chandler all struggled to get involved in the offense, leaving J.R. Smith to help sink the Knicks with a 3 for 15 shooting performance in the loss.
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