The return to the NBA Playoffs hasn’t gone as planned for the New York Knicks as they find themselves in a massive hole and on the verge of elimination.
Coming into their first-round matchup against the Atlanta Hawks, the Knicks held home court advantage, but after dropping Game 1, it has been an uphill battle for the team.
The Knicks shocked a lot of people this year and it’s hard to imagine anybody outside of New York expecting the team would have been good enough to secure home court in the first round.
Of course, the team got a much-needed mid-season boost thanks to the acquisition of Derrick Rose from the Detroit Pistons.
Fast forward to now and it looks like the Knicks have a hit a brick wall and are just one game away from being eliminated.
One NBA analyst argues the Knicks shouldn’t blame themselves, but instead should shift the blame on the better team — the Atlanta Hawks.
Blame the Hawks
Although the Knicks do have home court advantage as a result of having a higher seed, it looks like the Hawks might actually have more talent.
It’s tough to say for certain because Julius Randle has looked like a shell of himself so far this series. On the other hand, that could be because the Hawks are playing the NBA’s Most Improved Player much different defensively than what he’s used to.
Skip Bayless believes Knicks fans should shift their blame away from the players, coaches and front office and instead place in on the Hawks.
“OK, Knicks fans: Who you gonna blame now?” he asked. “Thibs? Randle? Dolan? BLAME THE HAWKS. They’re just better. You had a great back-from-the-“dead” season. You will get better. Accept. Appreciate.”
With each passing game, it does look like this could be the case, but Bayless says fans should appreciate the season they got instead.
If all of the young guys are able to take the leap forward, it’s easy to see the Knicks back in the playoffs next season, perhaps at even a higher seed. It does seem like the team will need some additional firepower in terms of scoring, but that’s what free agency and the draft are for.
The Series Isn’t Over
It might seem like the series is already over, but the Hawks will still have to win another game. While the Knicks are in a 1-3 hole, the next game is at home, so there is definitely a path back into the series.
This journey will definitely be tough and it’ll almost certainly require Randle to piece together a good game. His shooting slump has been absolutely brutal so far in the playoffs, something nobody could have seen coming.
At this point, it’s important to just take things one game at a time and see where you can go from there. Game 5 takes place on June 2 and it will be the decider on whether or not the Knicks live to fight another day.
No matter what the case may be, it can’t be denied that the Knicks had a good season.