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Posted at 12:48 PM ET, 05/10/2012

What’s next for Knicks after season-ending loss to Heat?

The Heat are moving on while Amar’e Stoudemire and the Knicks are headed home to figure out what went wrong. (Al Diaz - AP)
After a whirlwind season full of ups and downs, the New York Knicks bowed out of the playoffs with Wednesday’s 106-94 Game 5 loss to Miami.

Now, after a season in which a no-name point guard emerged as a global star, a coach quit, and key players suffered key injuries, New York must take stock while looking ahead to next season.

Can Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire coexist? Should the team tailor its offense to fit Anthony’s isolation play or Jeremy Lin’s up-tempo game? Who should the Knicks bring in as their head coach? And whose team is this really going to be?

That the Knicks fell to LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the defending Eastern Conference champions comes as no surprise. And the myriad of injuries to New York’s backcourt didn’t help the cause. But the way the Knicks lost — four defeats by a combined 72 points — was an alarming indication that this New York team, as currently constructed, may not be able to compete at the highest level.

“Each individual, myself, Amar’e, Carmelo, we have to come back better as better leaders next year,” center Tyson Chandler told the New York Post. “We have to elevate our teammates. We have to do a better job of getting everybody involved. It can’t be individuals. Because when you play as individuals, you don’t get very far.”

Offense didn’t come easy for Tyson Chandler and the Knicks. (Pedro Portal - AP)
Molding talented individuals into a cohesive unit is the key to success in all team sports, and especially in the NBA where teams like the Lakers, Celtics and Heat hoarded elite players and became winners. That was the aim in New York when the Knicks brought in Anthony and Stoudemire, but the success has not materialized.

After Wednesday’s loss, in which he scored a game-high 35 points, Anthony expressed continued confidence that these Knicks can win.

“I feel confident in the team and where we’re headed despite everything that happened this season,” he said. “It’s been an up and down season. We competed. In the future, I feel good competing against the top teams in the East. I do consider our team being up there, top three, four teams in the East.

“Next year we’ll be much better as a unit. Not just me and Amar’e, but as a team.”

Will just being “better as a unit” be enough to help the Knicks move beyond the first round for the first time since 1999-2000? Or are wholesale changes necessary to build a championship-caliber team in the Big Apple?

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More NBA Playoffs coverage from Washington Post Sports:

LeBron James helps Heat oust Knicks with 106-94 win

Bulls’ injuries may soon spell end for East’s No. 1 seed

Lin says he was cautious to avoid setback with knee

Scores & schedule | series breakdowns

By  |  12:48 PM ET, 05/10/2012

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