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Considering the lack of success the Knicks experienced since the start of the millennium, the year of 2021 will go down as extremely prosperous and deserving of a cheery, orange-and-blue champagne toast.
They broke an eight-year playoff drought in May. Though the Knicks have still won just one playoff series since 2001, they are hardly the league’s laughingstock, as they were on Jan. 1, when the shortened 72-game pandemic season had just gotten underway with no fans in attendance and first-year coach Tom Thibodeau had just come on board.
Thibodeau won the 2021 Coach of the Year award with a Herculean effort in guiding the Knicks to a 41-31 record. In this age of social-media overreaction, he was already hearing calls for his firing after a 14-18 start (now 17-18) despite working wonders a season ago.