Memo to Melo and Amar'e: Fellas, you have it the other way around.

You got swept.

But if you listened to Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire Monday, you would have thought they had just swept Boston's Big Three and were gearing up for LeBron James and the Heat in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

You would also think that the Knicks were one minor tweaking away from bringing home the team's first title since 1973.

"I think the time is near," Stoudemire said at clearout day in Greenburgh, a day after Boston closed out the Knicks with two easy wins at the Garden. "We're close. I can feel it. The franchise can feel it."

Most teams would be feeling nothing but pain and agony the day after another season ended without a playoff victory. Not the Knicks' two stars. They were back at the practice facility, but not to prepare for a Game 5 against the Celtics, mostly because the Knicks didn't show up when the series shifted to the Garden.

Melo and Amar'e arrived for exit interviews with Donnie Walsh and Mike D'Antoni. Having exit interviews on April 25 means you exited the playoffs after eight days.

Second memo to Melo and Amar'e: New Yorkers are not impressed with "playoff runs" that last only eight days, even if Stoudemire's back injury in Game 2 was a pretty good excuse for a 4-0 decision.

Anthony also had a lot to say, then left with one final thought.

"On my radar I want to be the top team in the East next year," he said.

Thankfully, after all the crazy talk, one wise, old voice came through, loud and clear. Chauncey Billups sounded like a guy you want leading your team.

"Getting swept in the first round, I don't do this," he said. "This is not fine with me. I like to play late in the season. I don't come into the season saying, 'Yeah, I just want to make the playoffs.' I go into the season saying, 'OK, how are we going to win it?'"

If the season were to start tomorrow with the Knicks having the same team as the one that went 14-18 after the Anthony deal, and with the same coach who didn't acquit himself very well when the Knicks could have walked out of the new Boston Garden with two wins, Billups would not even bother asking that question.