It's Going to Be Quite a Night at Madison Square Garden

The long wait finally ends on Friday night

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Carmelo's never heard what's coming his way on Friday night.

    It has been exactly 10 years since the New York Knicks won a home playoff game.

    On April 22, 2011, Allen Houston, Latrell Sprewell and Marcus Camby led a team coached by Jeff Van Gundy past the Toronto Raptors to jump out to a one-game lead in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. They would win one more game in that series, then shuffle off to defeat and begin the long, dreadful process of becoming a punchline to every joke in the NBA.

    We don't really remember much about that game, but we do remember the way the Garden felt back in those days. When the Knicks were playing a postseason game, there wasn't any place on Earth that mattered.

    It was the center of the universe and that's why so much of the angst about what's happened to the Knicks always focused on the fact that the Garden no longer roared in the manner it deserved. We got tastes of it this season, especially on the night that Carmelo Anthony arrived in New York, but nothing like what we're going to see on Friday.

    Madison Square Garden is going to be rocking the way only a building containing a decade of pent-up frustrations. All of the remaining pain caused by Starbury, Isiah, Eddy Curry and James Dolan will be released with a mighty roar that just might speed up the renovations if things aren't nailed down quite right.

    If anything, the fact that the Knicks are down 2-0 will make the crowd even louder and more energetic than it would be under other circumstances. The two games is Boston were so close, under such adverse circumstances, that it isn't hard to see the crowd operating under the belief that they can be the extra push the Knicks need to get over the hump.

    It looks like the team will be without Chauncey Billups and Amar'e Stoudemire is a big unknown, but that's not going to make for a gloomy crowd. It is going to make everyone that much more convinced that their voices will be the difference.

    They will also be inspired by the prospect of the Knicks falling behind 3-0 in the series which would be, for all intents and purposes, a death knell for the team's chances. As much progress as they've made this year and as right the path finally seems to be for the team, a quick and painful out in the playoffs would put a serious damper on things.

    All of that will be part of the joyful noise coming from the middle of Manhattan at about 7:04 on Friday night. Win or lose, it will be a glorious moment in the recent history of this franchise.

    If that noise is coming again a few hours later, it will be all the more glorious and little more than precursor to an even more joyful one on Sunday.

    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.