NEW YORK — A team built to win a title now didn’t get close. Sure, the New York Knicks ended lengthy droughts for division titles and playoff series victories, so there were successes. But they surrounded Carmelo Anthony with players on their last NBA legs with a championship in mind, knowing the window to win one would slam shut quickly.
Now their season is over. It was good, but not nearly good enough. The Knicks were eliminated Saturday by Indiana in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. It was the Knicks’ first appearance in the second round since 2000, but they expected to go farther.
‘‘We all knew what was the goal that we had set,’’ Anthony said. ‘‘Everybody wants to win a championship.’’
They had to settle for their first Atlantic Division title since 1994 and a 54-28 record that was their best since winning 57 games in 1996-97. Anthony won the scoring title and J.R. Smith was the Sixth Man of the Year, so Anthony wouldn’t consider the season a failure.
‘‘Overall, we had a hell of a season, hell of a year,’’ he said. ‘‘I think we took some steps forward as a team, as an organization, to win the games that we won, 50-plus games, to win our division. To get to this point right now where we’re at, we had a chance to get to the conference finals. It’s a learning curve, and we’ll be back better and stronger next year for sure.’’
Not without a change of personnel. Kurt Thomas (40) and Rasheed Wallace (39) never made it to the playoffs because of foot injuries. Marcus Camby (39) hardly played. Jason Kidd (40) lost his game in the playoffs, missing all 17 shots across the final 10 games and finishing 3 of 25 from the field. Kidd and Camby are still under contract for two more seasons.