The chariot that was parked in front of Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street has been replaced by the all familiar pumpkin, the one that had a permanent spot outside of Madison Square Garden for the last decade.
The Knicks, who were blessed from the NBA gods with an easy schedule, have been brought back down to earth with a thud.
After winning eight straight games and having their way against teams under .500, the Knicks are finally faced with a real challenge.
The much anticipated “Dream Week” or “Reality Week” as it has been also dubbed, has ended and left many Knicks' fans begging for Carmelo Anthony and maybe even have the Knicks questioning if they have really arrived or not.
The Knicks began their week by beating Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets at the Garden. The talk was not would Melo come to New York, but when, as sources close to the All-Star forward stated he would only accept a trade to the Knicks.
The Knicks offense was on fire against the Boston Celtics. Amar’e Stoudemire was a beast in the paint, hitting jumper after jumper. The Celtics had no answer for Raymond Felton and the pick-and-roll.
The Garden crowd was loud and rocking; even chants of “Boston Sucks” could be heard.
The Knicks played the Celtics tough, leading by as many as 12 points before the reigning Eastern Conference champs came storming back behind timely hoops from Ray Allen, Garnett and Paul Pierce.
Stoudemire scored 39 points, extending his 30 points or more streak to nine games, but Pierce had the last laugh, hitting a jumper over Stoudemire with 0.4 seconds left in the game.
Stoudemire had a chance to win the game, but his three-pointer was after the buzzer.
Although the Knicks lost to the Celtics, the game was tight throughout, and they proved that they can hang with an elite team.
The Knicks/Heat game had the buzz and intensity of a playoff game and was reminiscent of the rivalry that began when Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning were still playing.
The score was tied at 57 at the half, and even though Stoudemire did not have a great first half, the Knicks still managed to stay even.
Then the Knicks resorted back to their old selves again. The Nike’s suddenly did not fit, and the Knicks only managed 34 points in the next two quarters.
LeBron James, who had a triple-double, and Dwyane Wade had their way with the Knicks. Chris Bosh, who was often serenaded with chants of "overrated," outplayed Amar'e Stoudemire.
The Heat made defensive adjustments, and the Knicks could not seem to find the basket in the second half.
Danilo Gallinari, who was unstoppable in the first half scoring 21 points, only managed to score four points in the second half.
Amar’e Stoudemire was locked down defensively by Joel Anthony. He scored 24 points but also took 28 shots. He was often faced with double and triple teams.
The Knicks never showed any intensity in the second half and frankly looked exhausted as Miami ran them out of their own building.
As the Miami Heat pulled away, the Knicks lost their swagger and were embarrassed 113-91.
The Knicks did not have time to think about the loss, as they played in Cleveland the next night.
It was a game that they should have one easily, but the old Knicks were back, and you never thought they were really in the game. The team was not only mentally exhausted but physically as well, which is understandable since D'Antoni has been playing his starters 40 minutes.
The Knicks front line allowed Anderson Varejao to grab 17 rebounds, and Mo Williams went into the paint and scored at will. Stoudemire scored 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, but he also had eight turnovers. He was bothered by a neck injury that was re-injured by Varejao.
The pain that Amar'e is feeling is more than in his neck from having to carry the scoring load night after night.
It’s one thing to lose to the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat, since very few think the Knicks are capable of beating them in a playoff series anyway. But to lose to the Cleveland Cavaliers without LeBron, a team that has lost 10 straight games, is not acceptable.
Not for a team that is trying to regain respectability among the elite teams.
You could tell that the Knicks were drained, both emotionally and physically. They allowed the hapless Cavs to dominate them in overtime, winning 109-102, dropping their third straight game and are now 16-12.
The Knicks don’t have a chance to feel sorry for themselves though, because they have another tough week ahead of them.
If the New York Knicks have any hopes of competing for a playoff spot, they better wake up quick!
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