Chins up New York; it was a season to remember. The New York Knicks 2022-2023 season has ended as they fell to the Miami Heat 96-92 last Friday night in game 6 of a second-round playoff series. As the conference finals begin this week, it’s the beginning of a long offseason for the Knicks, but one with new hope and excitement around the organization that hasn’t been felt in a while after their most successful season in ten years.

New York seemed to be in control early as they took a 31-17 lead late in the first quarter, but that lead soon shrunk and was lost as the Knicks fell behind towards the end of the half and never regained their composure for the rest of the night. It remained a close affair down the stretch, but the Heat seemed to have the edge the whole second half as they outworked New York, which showed in the final result.

A Star is Born

As the season has ended, the Knicks faithful has one thing they can definitely be positive about, and that’s the superstar that was born at the Mecca this season; Jalen Brunson. The Knicks point guard left it all out on the court in the final game, scoring 41 points, and at some points in this series, seemed to be the only Knick on the floor with a pulse, or at least it appeared that way. Brunson scored 20+ points in every game of the series and scored 30+ points in four games, including the final two games, where he scored 38 points and 41 points, respectively.

Brunson is the first Knick with three straight 30-point games in the playoffs since the immortal Patrick Ewing in 1990.

New York was excited to see how Brunson would perform going into the season, but not many expected to see the incredible play we’ve seen from him in this season. Brunson averaged 24 points per game in the regular season, followed by 27.8 points per game in the playoffs.

With 3 years left on his current contract, Brunson will be a staple in New York for years to come and, with some help, can help the Knicks reach greater heights.

Randle’s Future In Doubt

One of the most disappointing players for New York in the series was Julius Randle. The All-star forward went from averaging 25.1 points per game in the regular season to 16.6 in the playoffs. Randle scored 15 points in game 6, a disappointing final performance of the season. Although there are not many stats that show this, Randle seemed to be lacking hustle on defense throughout most of the series, which obviously created a huge problem for New York, along with a tendency to turn the ball over, especially in the final few games.

There is some doubt about where Randle will be playing next season. The Knicks faithful clearly want Julius to be moved, as following game 6, fans at the Garden drew “Trade me!” on Randle’s poster and then tore it down. Randle has done a lot of good for the Knicks over the past few years, including two all-star seasons where he led them to the playoffs.

Still, in both of those seasons, he has had disappointing performances in the playoffs leading to some doubt about whether he will return to New York next year.

A Magical Year Comes to a Close

Coach Thibodeau said following the defeat, “… I’m proud of our guys. There’s always disappointment in the end of the season, and win thee end, there’ll be one team standing. … Proud of the way this team worked all year.”

A New Hope

Going into the 2022-2023 NBA season, ESPN predicted the Knicks to finish with a 39-43 record. New York was coming off a 37-45 finish in 2021-2022, and there was doubt around almost every aspect of this Knicks squad. However, from the very first game of this season, you could tell there was something different about this Knicks team. It just feels different. There was no shortage of unforgettable moments, from Jalen Brunson’s uncountable clutch shots and performances, Randle’s game-winner in Miami, the nine-game winning streak, and so much more.

There’s a new energy, excitement, and hope around New York. The Knicks won their first playoff series in ten years, and despite a sour end, it was a magical season for the Knickerbockers, and Madison Square Garden was the loudest it’s been in years. The future for the Knicks is the brightest it’s been this century. Jalen Brunson is already a legendary Knick, and he’s just getting started. There’s a new hope in New York, and it’s here to stay. For your New York Knicks, this isn’t the end; It’s the end of the beginning.

Photo: @KnicksMSGN/TW

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