Another Night, Another Heartbreak

The Knicks can't get it done down the stretch once again.

By Josh Alper
|  Wednesday, Apr 20, 2011  |  Updated 6:35 AM EDT
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Knicks Heartbreak Redux

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Carmelo flies solo and almost makes it work.

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If you thought the Knicks couldn't have a worse final possession than they did in Game One, prepare to be surprised.

They were playing without Chauncey Billups, Amar'e Stoudemire left before the half with back spasms and only trailed by one because Carmelo Anthony played at the highest possible level in professional basketball. There were 13 seconds left after a Kevin Garnett bucket and the Knicks were trying anything to get the ball to Anthony to win the game.

The Celtics weren't going to let that happen and the ball wound up in Jared Jeffries' hands in the low block. Normally that's a terrifying proposition, but Jeffries actually had 10 points including a driving bucket on the previous possession.

This time he tried to pass and it turned out to be a terrible decision as Kevin Garnett stole the ball and called timeout before a scrum could start for the ball. The Knicks butchered the ensuing inbounds play, as a classic Mike D'Antoni unprepared team coming out of the timeout let way too much time run off the clock before fouling Delonte West.

That meant a 96-93 final and a 2-0 Celtics series lead as we prepare to come back to New York. It's painful and disheartening to see them lose another game that was there to be won, but it won't be the only thing we'll remember until Friday night.

The memories of Tuesday night will be Anthony and the fight shown by the Knicks as a whole. Anthony's game -- 42 points, 17 rebounds, six assists -- goes up alongside the greatest playoff performances in the history of the franchise, but the numbers only tell half of the story.

Two nights after his awful second half helped cost the Knicks a shot to steal Game One, Anthony gave absolutely everything he had to make sure that the Celtics were going to have to beat him to get a win in Game Two. That he did it so successfully in all phases of the game on a night when his supporting cast was decidedly D-List just makes it all the more impressive.

That D-List crew sure wanted this game, though. Whether it was Jared Jeffries fighting every instinct in his body to actually put the ball in the hoop or Bill Walker fighting for every little scrap or Roger Mason Jr. emerging from the ether and playing solid ball in the fourth quarter, these Knicks did everything they could to make effort count for more than talent.

As we found out in heartbreaking fashion, the NBA just doesn't work that way. On to Friday night, when a frenzied Garden crowd will try its best to get their team over the hump.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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