New York Knicks: Tough Love

Vinny YeagerCorrespondent IMarch 25, 2009

NEW YORK - MARCH 18: Nate Robinson #4 of the New York Knicks sits on the bench in the closing minutes against the New Jersey Nets at Madison Square Garden March 18, 2009 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 McGrath/Getty Images)

Entering this season, the feeling for the New York Knicks was upbeat and positive.

They got a new general manager in Donnie Walsh, Mike D' Antoni took over as the coach, and Isiah Thomas and Stephon Marbury were not part of the equation.

The team started off playing well and also made some pretty big trades when they let go of Jamal Crawford, Zach Randolph, and Mardy Collins and received Al Harrington and Cuttino Mobley.

After watching this team for the first half of the season, you can see a massive transformation from last season to this season, and you thought to yourself, "Wow. This team can make the playoffs and succeed."

The success continued, and after winning the Slam Dunk contest during the All Star break, Nate Robinson became the face of the franchise and went on a tear of the entire NBA.

The Knicks were winning a bunch of games and he was scoring 40 points a night coming off the bench. New York also acquired Larry Hughes and Chris Wilcox via trade to help the team in the second half and get into the playoffs.

The atmosphere in the Garden was different and you could feel the electricity in the air.

New York City basketball was back and fans were proud to say that their favorite team was the Knicks.

The Knicks went into Detroit on March 11 and won, and then went into Minnesota that Friday the 13 and beat the Timberwolves. The playoffs were right out in front of them to grab and take a hold of.

Then what happened? The Knicks went on a five-game losing streak during the most important time in the year and are currently 4.5 games out of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. They proved that the curse of Friday the 13th was true and it sure did work on them.

New York plays the L.A. Clippers tonight, a team which they should beat. If the team is serious and wants to make a truly inspiring playoff push, they must go on a tear and win a lot of their last couple of games.

Now, do not get me wrong. I still believe as much as the next guy that this team will make the playoffs this year. Heck! I believe that the Knicks can win an NBA title with the team they have right now.

The fact is that no matter what, there is always going to be tough love when it comes to a team and its followers. You cannot get too high on your hopes when the team is doing great and you cannot get too down on your hopes when the team is doing horrible.

Yet, if you want to consider yourself a true fan, you must always believe, no matter what the circumstances are and no matter what the situation is.