The New York Knicks began the 2011-12 season with high hopes. Most ‘experts’ figured New York could finish in the top four in the East and gave them an outside shot at winning the Eastern Conference.

In the end, though, the Knicks squeaked into the playoffs on a late run, went in as the eight seed and were promptly dispatched of in five games by second seeded Miami Heat in the first round.

Unfortunately for New York, this fit round draw all but insured an early exit from the playoffs, while even as the second seed, the Miami Heat were early NBA odds favorites to win the series, and nearly everyone had added them to their NBA betting tickets to take home the title.

So as New York looks forward, we look back and ask “Where did they go wrong?”

First and foremost, maybe those expectations were a bit much. Yeah, the Knicks had put together a nice collection of talent, with Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire and a few others, and that’s what your supposed to do. But was that talent compatible with what Coach D’Antoni wanted to do?

And who, besides Tyson Chandler, was going to play defense?

Last year New York finished 42-40. So they improved by four games this season, roughly speaking. Not bad, but not great, and obviously not enough to be considered a championship contender.

In mid-March, with the Knicks floundering at 18-24, Coach D’Antoni resigned, replaced by Mike Woodson. From there on out New York went 18-6 to finish at 36-30. Using 20/20 hindsight, maybe they should have dumped D’Antoni for Woodson sooner.

Injuries were a constant with the Knicks this year. At one time or another at least eight guys missed time due to various ailments. But what really cost New York was a lack of quality depth at the point guard spot. Jeremy Lin provided a spark, but after he got hurt the Knicks got stuck relying on Baron Davis and Mike Bibby at the point, two guys well past their prime.

Next year New York will probably again face heightened expectations. Coming off the good finish under Woodson, and with everybody supposedly healthy, and with Boston’s Big Three another year older, we can expect the Knicks to rank among the favorites to win the Atlantic Division.

But as the Knicks found out this season, great expectations can be a bitch to play with.