The Knicks, with a tougher schedule, find themselves quickly neck and neck with the Bucks just in time for the their final meeting. The Knicks prevail, but hten lose to Washington while Milwaukee beats Detroit to pull back into a tie. But the Knicks, with Jeffries back, beat Miami, Boston, New Jersey and Cleveland to take a three game lead.
Meanwhile, a Sixer losing streak has moved the Knicks to within a half game of the Sixers and 1 game back of Boston for the divsion lead. Boston loses to Orlando, Atlanta, and Miami, the Knicks lose to Atlanta and, despite getting Amar'e back, lose to the Clippers, the Sixers reel off a couple of wins vs. Indiana and New Jersey, regaining the divsion lead, but then lose to Milwaukee, which has once again moved into a tie with the Knicks with one game to go.
The Knicks hold the tiebreaker so need only to win their last game against Charlotte or have Milwaukee lose to get in. But the Celtics, having lost 1st place in the Atlantic, and holding the tiebreaker over the Knicks and the Bucks, have no motivation and lose to the Bucks. Luckily, the Knicks beat Charlotte. With all three teams having identical 34-32 records, the Knicks and Celtics get in, Celts in the 7 seed and the Knicks in the 8th.
The Knicks activate Lin for the first round, but he doesn't play and the Knicks lose game 1 to Chicago in a tense, defensive thriller. In game 2, they get blown out. Back at the Garden down 2-0, The Knicks grind out a win behind Baron Davis' best game as a Knick and Carmelo Anthony's 32 points and 12 rebounds. In game 4, the Knicks fall behind by 18 at the half as Davis re-aggravates his hamstring.. Lin comes out of the locker room and starts the second half in a Reed like moment and leads the Knicks all the way back, and the Knicks win on a Stoudemire 3, his 33rd, 34th, and 35th points, at the buzzer.
Back in Chicago, the Bulls handle the Knicks in game 5 to take a 3-2 lead. For game 6 at the Garden, Baron Davis is able to return and the Knicks take a ten point lead into the final 2 minutes, but Derrick Rose leads a furious rally to put the Bulls up by 2 with 12 seconds left. Lin drives into the lane and gets fouled by Noah, who gets so pissed at the call that he gets a tech. Melo hits the tech and Lin hits the first free throw but misses the second and we go to overtime.
In overtime, Lin takes over, scoring 6 straight points. With a 4 point lead and a minute left in overtime, Lin crosses over Rose and runs him into a Tyson Chandler pick. Rose crumples to the floor and is carried off. The Knicks hold on to tie the series.
Game 7 is an ugly affair. Rose is out, Davis gets hurt again, and neither team scores well. With the Knicks up by 1 with a minute left, Lin fouls out. Boozer hits one to tie it but on the next possession, chaos ensues and the Knicks are forced into a 24 second violation. The Bulls wind the clock down and Deng hits a three, which is turned into a two by the officials upon review. The Knicks call their final time out.
On the inbounds play, Chicago defends well and Deng steals the ball, but Toney pursues him and steals it back without fouling him. He dribbles up the court and passes to Anthony, who drives into the lane but is triple teamed and kicks the ball back out to Toney who drains a three at the buzzer. Knicks advance to the second round.