Last night, the Knicks’ comeback 114–103 win over the Washington Wizards marked Madison Square Garden’s 26th sellout of the season. That’s kind of amazing when you think about it: A team that will finish with more than 50 losses, in a clear, obvious holding pattern, openly experimenting by throwing junk at the wall to see what sticks … sold out 26 of its 41 home games this season. The Knicks had more fans at the Garden this year than the Lakers: They were fifth in the NBA in attendance. If LeBron or another big-name free agent comes here in the off-season, say what you will, but the fans will certainly deserve it.
Unfortunately for those fans, the guy they really wanted to say good-bye to last night wasn’t available to them at the end. David Lee, almost assuredly playing his last game at the Garden as a Knick, sat out the last 10:35 as the Knicks clinched the victory. The crowd chanted his name, but coach Mike D’Antoni, watching his team in the midst of a roll, said, “It didn’t seem fair to take those guys out.”
And just like that, it was over. Of the twelve men on the roster last night, only two (Danilo Gallinari and Toney Douglas) are signed for next season. It was a good-bye to everyone, to all that. There’s hardly much sadness.
It isn’t surprising that when asked if he will have anything to say to the team following Wednesday’s season finale in Toronto, D’Antoni, laughing, said: “Not really. See ya.”
No one knows who the new people in Knicks uniforms next year will be, but they will be new. That’s enough. Last night at the Garden was the last night that didn’t matter, the last night we were truly just rooting for uniforms. It’s been a funny little era in Knicks history, one unlike any other — an odd, occasionally likable group of ragtags, fill-ins and youngsters. We won’t see anything like it again. But will we miss it? Not really. See ya.