For almost 2 months, Boston Celtics fans and Boston media have been chirping the same lines repeatedly: "Celtics in 6", "Celtics in 7" "Celtics are 18-6 in the Garden during Big Three Era", "KG will shut down 'Melo." Yours truly especially loves this line: "The Knicks are not playoff tested and haven't won anything while the Celtics always show up come playoff time." Well after Friday night, those Celtics fans won't be chirping anymore.
First off, this isn't the Knicks of two seasons ago when they faced the Celtics in the first round. This is a hard-nose, physical defensive team that allowed 95.7 per game (7th in the NBA this season) and forced 14.6 turnovers per game. (10th in the NBA) Not to mention we saw the growth and development of defensive play from the likes of Carmelo Anthony, whom many just wrote off as a 'ball-hogging scorer' or J.R. Smith, who went from just chucking up 3s to now driving to the hole.
On the offensive side, there was a big change. Yes the Knicks lost PG Jeremy Lin and all of his 'Linsanity' skills, replacing him with the likes of older point guards like Raymon Felton, Jason Kidd, and Pablo Prigioni. However the results are staggering. In 2011-2013, the Knicks were 2nd in turnovers with 15.3 per game with Lin. With the Felton-Kidd-Prigioni combo, the Knicks were 30th in turnovers with 11.6 per game. Not too mention said three guards are able to facilitate the offense, an offense that can now pass the ball around freely, setting up picks, and dish out to an open person.
We finally put everything together by bringing in veteran presence like a Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas, and Kenyon Martin to balance it out. (The former two brought in to mentor the younger players and the later for somebody who wants to play in the paint) All these factors combined and contributed to the Knicks' playofff wins against the Celtics.
While many Celtics fans will try to find excuses like 'We didn't have Rondo', 'KG and Pierce aren't in their prime' or 'The refs wanted the Knicks to win' (Look at you Tommy Heinsohn) Bottom line is that your team was bested by a better, younger, and hungrier one. Nevertheless, Boston still gave New York a run for its money with back-to-back victories in Game 4 (97-90 OT) and Game 5 (92-86). Not to mention the 20-0 run late in the 4th quarter in Game 6 to get within 4. But in the end, the only thing people will remember the Celtics for is falling short in Game 6 and falling to the Knicks 4 games to 2.
Now as we move forward, we'll be seeing a heated rivalry be reborn when the Knicks take on the Pacers in Round 2. What happens then we will not know about. But for now, all we know is that the Knicks moved onto the 2nd round for the first time since the '99-00 season. Boston was strong but New York is stronger.
Support WBOB Sports