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NBA Playoffs 2012: Can New York Knicks Finally Get out of the 1st Round?

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 15:  Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks lays the ball up against the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden on April 15, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
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Matthew CohenContributor IIIApril 15, 2012

Short answer: No.

The New York Knicks have not gotten out of the first round since 1999-2000, when they lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Indiana Pacers. Since then, the Knicks have made the playoffs twice, the most recent being a first-round exit to the Boston Celtics last season (a 4-0 sweep).

They say talent and superstars win NBA championships. The New York Knicks just do not get that memo. You would think a team with Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler (fresh off an NBA championship with the Dallas Mavericks) would be enough to win a playoff series. You would be wrong. 

The main reason why should be obvious enough. Look at the Eastern Conference standings. The Knicks are set to play either the Miami Heat or the Chicago Bulls in the first round. The Knicks are a combined 1-6 against those two clubs. Without throwing out any statistics or breaking down potential matchups, the bottom line is this: the Heat and Bulls are just plain better.

Let's look at the glass half full for a second, though. The Knicks have played much better since Mike D'Antoni resigned. Mike Woodson seems to have gotten the team to respond and play harder, and the results show. The team is 13-5 under Woodson, who should get a hard look from upstairs to become the permanent head coach after the season is over.

Baron Davis has played fairly well, despite always being one bad back away from being on the shelf for an extended period of time. J.R Smith has his moments. Iman Shumpert and Landry Fields are good role players.

There's also this: Derrick Rose cannot stay healthy. If the MVP is not 100 percent come playoff time, then the Knicks would at least have a chance to upset Chicago. With Dwight Howard also out with a bad back, there is an outside chance that the Knicks can catch the Orlando Magic, and sneak into the No. 6 playoff spot. However, the Knicks may run out of time to do that. 

But logic dictates that at the end of the day, this team with Stoudemire, Anthony, Chandler and a decent supporting cast will once again get bounced in the first round. Unfortunately for the Knicks, tanking it under D'Antoni early means they will either be the No. 7 or No. 8 seed in the playoffs. Which means they are looking at either the Chicago Bulls or the Miami Heat.

Which means that once again, Knicks fans will have to say, "better luck next year."

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