The last images of the Knicks weren't pleasant ones: Iman Shumpert crying in pain inside American Airlines Arena after tearing his left ACL and lateral meniscus in Game 1; Amare Stoudemire posting a photo on Twitter of his roughly 15 stitches on his left hand suffered after Game 2; Baron Davis shredding his right knee in Game 4; and the Knicks' walking off of the court in Miami with their heads down after losing to the Heat in Game 5.
How things ended for the Knicks baffled even writers on the basketball beat for 20 years, but what can't be forgotten are the plenty of exciting moments during the regular season, and even one during the playoffs. Here is ESPN New York's top 10 list (in chronological order):
1. On Dec. 10, Tyson Chandler agreed to terms with the Knicks. After a season where the Knicks ranked 22nd in defensive efficiency, the Knicks surged to fifth in 2011-12, thanks largely to Chandler, who averaged 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 62 games.
2. In the Knicks' season opener on Christmas Day in the Garden, Carmelo Anthony scored 37 points, including two late free throws, to give his team the edge over the Celtics, 106-104.
3. On Feb. 4 in the Garden, Jeremy Lin came off of the bench to record 25 points and seven assists to lead the Knicks to the 99-92 win over the Nets, snapping their 2-11 slide that began on Jan. 12. Including this game, the Knicks went on to a season-high seven-game winning streak, during which Lin averaged 24.4 points and 9.1 assists, while shooting 51.2 percent from the field.
4. On Feb. 10 in the Garden, Lin outplayed Kobe Bryant by scoring a career-high 38 points (to Bryant's 34), which led to "M-V-P, M-V-P" chants towards the end of the Knicks' 92-85 win.
5. On Valentine's Day, the night the Raptors held Asian Heritage Night in Air Canada Centre, Lin hit his first game-winning shot. In a one-on-one situation against Raptors point guard Jose Calderon at the top of the key, Lin did a cross-over dribble and then sunk a 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds remaining to give the Knicks the 90-87 win.
6. On March 14, Mike D’Antoni resigned and Mike Woodson was named interim head coach, and that night in the Garden, the Knicks blew out the Trail Blazers, 121-79 -- the start of a five-game winning streak. While D’Antoni went 18-24 in 42 games, Woodson also led Knicks to 18 wins – but he did it in only 24 games.
7. On April 8 in the Garden, Anthony had a New York career-best of 43 points as the Knicks topped the East's No. 1 seed, the Bulls, in overtime, 100-99. Melo tied the game with a late 3-pointer in regulation and then scored the final five points in overtime, including the go-ahead three with 8.2 seconds left.
8. On April 17 in the Garden, Anthony recorded his second career triple-double (35 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists) to lead the Knicks past their Atlantic Division rival, the Celtics, 118-110. The Knicks also tied a season-high with 19 3-pointers (Steve Novak had eight and J.R. Smith had seven).
9. On May 2, Chandler became the first Knick to win Defensive Player of the Year. The last Knick to be named to the All-Defensive First Team was Charles Oakley in 1993-94 season.
10. On May 6 in the Garden, Anthony registered 41 points and Stoudemire had 20 points and 10 rebounds in his return from a left hand laceration, as the Knicks snapped an NBA-record 13-game playoff losing streak when they topped the Heat, 89-87. It was New York’s first postseason win since 2001.
What is your favorite moment? Leave us your comments below.
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