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It had to be a nerve-racking 48 hours for Knicks fans

For a team with such a famous name, playing in such a famous arena and such a famous town, the New York Knicks haven’t had much to celebrate over the past 50 years.

The Knicks’ last NBA championship was in 1973. Their last appearance in the finals was in 1999. Their last Atlantic Division title was in 2013. In fact, the Knickerbockers haven’t been all that basketball-relevant in the 21st century.

Could 2024 be a different story? It must have felt like that when the Knicks were up by six points with 28 seconds left in Game 5 of a Round 1 matchup vs. Philadelphia at Madison Square Garden (that famous arena) on Tuesday night.

The Knicks’ crowd was rocking. New York was ahead in the series, 3-1, and the players and coaches looked poised to close out the 76ers and advance to the Eastern Conference semi-finals. But Philadelphia closed the gap to three points. Then, with just seconds remaining, 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey dribbled past halfcourt and launched a three from the New York logo.


Maxey’s three-point shot silenced the crowd and ultimately sent Game 5 into overtime, where the 76ers prevailed, 112-106, to set up a Game 6 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Thursday night.

Back to the aftermath of Tuesday’s result at the Garden. The place was quickly emptying even before the final horn sounded. I have no doubt the Knicks fans who walked home that night or rode New York’s famous subway system were dejected. The celebrities who were in attendance–including Jon Stewart, Chris Rock and, I assume, Spike Lee, the famous director–were also feeling the blues (and not the Mo’ Better kind).

Do the Right Thing on defense (I could probably spend the whole article naming Lee movies), and New York would have been on to the second round.

Tuesday’s result may have been the worst thing to happen to Knicks fans since the time Rachel and Monica stole back their old apartment when Joey and Chandler attended a game at the Garden way back in 1998.

The Knicks were going to blow it, weren’t they? Sure, they won 50 games during the 2023/2024 regular season. Yes, they earned the second seed in the Eastern Conference. But, again, despite playing in maybe the most famous basketball city in the world, the Knicks haven’t been basketball-relevant for quite some time.

Their faithful had to have been expecting the worst. I think all sports sports fans can relate to that feeling. You had victory in your grasp, only to let it slip away in the end. Now, you have to wait two days to watch another game?


The next 48 hours had to be excruciating.

The 76ers may have been the seventh seed, but they finished in third place in the Atlantic Division during the regular season, just three games back of New York.

Philadelphia, led by Maxey and center Joel Embiid, the 2023 NBA MVP, was more than capable of winning at home and bringing the series back to New York for a Game 7 showdown at the Garden.

Thankfully for their fans, the Knicks outlasted Philadelphia, 118-115, in Game 6 on Thursday night to finally, officially advance to the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Next up for New York is a Pacers squad that upset Milwaukee in the first round. How fitting, because the Knicks’ most famous series since their 1973 NBA title occurred in 1994 when they outlasted Indiana in an epic Eastern Conference Finals clash that went seven games. The series is most known for Reggie Miller’s 25-point fourth-quarter performance at the Garden in Game 5 where he famously engaged in a verbal sparring match with Lee, who was sitting at courtside.

Will this series be as epic? Will the Knicks last another round?

That remains to be seen, but I do know this, the NBA just feels more exciting when the Knicks are relevant and the Garden is rockin’.


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