Studs and Duds: Knicks’ season ends following Game 7 disappointment

May 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) is fouled by Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) during the fourth quarter of game seven of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks found themselves repeating history as the last time they played a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden was against the Indiana Pacers in 1995. History tends to repeat itself, and just like that game 29 years ago, the New York Knicks suffered a 130–109 defeat in a monumental Game 7. The injury-plagued season from New York has come to an end, and now retooling a return to dominance is the next order of business for the New York Knicks. 

Studs: Donte DiVincenzo shows up in Game 7

May 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) brings the ball up court against Indiana Pacers guard Ben Sheppard (26) during the fourth quarter of game seven of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
May 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) brings the ball up court against Indiana Pacers guard Ben Sheppard (26) during the fourth quarter of game seven of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

This season from DiVincenzo has been one of the most remarkable stories in the NBA this year. From crossing many achievements in the NBA this season to introducing a new child, DiVincenzo’s legacy as a Knicks has been solidified after one season. In Game 7, Donte scored 39 points with nine makes from three. This stat line may be unfamiliar to casual viewers, but to Knicks fans, that was ‘another day in March’ kind of performance from DiVincenzo.

In the second round, DiVincenzo averaged 22.7 points per game as the absence of Anunoby since Game 2 forced DiVincenzo into an even larger role than expected, but that’s been the case for Donte all season long with no questions asked. He is the definition of ‘Next Man Up.’ DiVincenzo signed a four-year deal with the Knicks before this season, and to think of all the highlights, the show is just getting started.

Studs: Alec Burks provided quality minutes in the Semifinals

May 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Alec Burks (18) drives to the basket against Indiana Pacers forward Isaiah Jackson (22) and guard Ben Sheppard (26) during the fourth quarter of game seven of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
May 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Alec Burks (18) drives to the basket against Indiana Pacers forward Isaiah Jackson (22) and guard Ben Sheppard (26) during the fourth quarter of game seven of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Stepping up to the level that Burks had this postseason run after getting traded to New York and being relegated to the bench was sensational. New York has a roster of high-character guys who understand the bigger goal at hand, and Burks was the perfect addition to this team.

In the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Burks averaged 12.7 points per game with two games of 20 or more points in the series. To put it into perspective, in the last seven games of the regular season, Alec Burks averaged .71 points per game with little to no playing time. Being ready to go at the drop of a dime, Burks demonstrated what it means to be a valuable veteran and locker room presence. 

Studs: The Resilient Knicks 

May 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau walks off the court after losing to the Indiana Pacers in game seven of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
May 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau walks off the court after losing to the Indiana Pacers in game seven of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023-2024 New York Knicks will go down as the beginning of an era in Knicks basketball history. The culture established by all parties involved has reestablished the unbridled pride of the Knicks as they partake in the cultivation of a winning brand of basketball.

Following an injury to Julius Randle, the season looked bleak for New York, but with tremendous depth and a rare cohesion, the ability to overcome hurdles, one after another, the Knicks came out even more legitimized to the NBA world.

The season didn’t go as planned, but the Knicks have assets and capital to make this offseason a benchmark in establishing a winning culture for New York basketball. 

Duds: Decisions, Decisions 

There are two timelines to the Knicks season, pre-Anunoby and post. In the Knick’s 20 games following the addition of OG, they went 16-4 with a newfound versatility and confidence on the defensive end.

Significant injuries to both Randle and Anunoby changed the possible outcome of the season drastically as the identity of the Knicks shifted to a primarily Brunson-led regime. Success was still abundant, but that variety the Knicks found with a trio of Randle, Brunson, and Anunoby set a precedent that New York will look to capitalize on next season.

Per Shams Charania, teams are monitoring the potential availability of Julius Randle. If the Knicks do not decide to extend Randle, then he could be on the move. The opportunity to play for the Knicks has once again become enticing, and a way to capitalize could see the Knicks move on from Julius Randle in favor of a more established player. 

Takeaways from the Knicks’ Game 7 loss to the Pacers

Another season is in the books for the New York Knicks, and with so many questions regarding the future, that’s a good problem to have. Jalen Brunson is a potential MVP candidate, while Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo have played to the level deserving to call New York home for the future. Isaiah Hartenstein is in for a big payday, while Miles McBride will take another step in his development. The Knicks are in a phenomenal position as a franchise, and the best is yet to come.

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