Knicks vs Celtics: ABC 1PM
Today in Boston the New York Knicks have the chance to sweep the Boston Celtics and head home for as long rest until the beginning of Round 2 of the NBA playoffs against the Hawks or the Pacers. Today the New York Knicks will be without the services of J.R. Smith, who was suspended by the league, due to a flagrant 2 foul against Jason Terry in game 3.
Carmelo Anthony and this Knicks team are on the cusp of advancing in the playoffs, which is a major milestone for this organization. Melo on this accomplishment:
”To be honest with you, to accomplish that would be spectacular. It would be a dream come true. I’ve never swept anybody. But we know Game 4 is win or go home for them guys,” Anthony said.
”I’ve been on that side of the ball plenty of times and I know that feeling, so I know the type of energy they’re going to come out and display here on Sunday. We’ve just got to be prepared for the punches that they throw and everything they put out there on the basketball court.”
Of course, the Knicks will have to win this game without their second leading scorer and dynamic 2 guard J.R. Smith, who is suspended 1 game for a questionable elbow to the head of Jason Terry in game 3. Without J.R. the Knicks will need scoring from others like Kidd, Cope and Novak. You can never replace J.R. but others will have step up and contribute for the Knicks to end this series and get much-needed rest until round 2 starts next weekend.
Raymond Felton has been spectacular in this series and must continue to be this way for NY today. His dribble penetration and drive to the baskets has been the catalyst for the NY offense. His defense against the aging Paul Pierce has been a highlight in my eyes.
Pablo and Shump have the chance today to pick up the slack for the suspended J.R. Smith. Shump in particular has an opportunity, but is still not the player from last year. However, he has made major strides to his return of form. We must remember that Shump has no playoff experience and there is a learning curve for all first year playoff players, including Copeland and Novak.
Tyson and Martin will have to lock down KG and Brandon Bass today in order for the Knicks to steal this game. Martin has been the leader of this defense since his signing, giving the chance for Tyson to get his wind and legs back after battling injuries and the flu this past month. Tyson is slowly getting back to form, but still not there.
The Celtics are a proud franchise. Today is a day of “gut checks” for this aging Celtics team. Doc Rivers explains this:
”You’ve got to focus on the single game. You can’t win four without winning one,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said Saturday.
”I dread the end all the time. I really do,” Rivers said. ”I just like to be able to know when the end is, meaning you’re in Game 7 of the world championship. Then you know you’re playing for the end. I hate when the end can come early. But I dread them all.”
Nobody thought this series would have gone this way, but with the combination of the Knicks defense and the Celtics lack of point guard play, along with their abysmal offense, the Knicks lead the series 3-0. Do the Celtics have a chance to win this series? No team has come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series and I am not sure this is the team to do so. Can the Celtics win at least one game in this series, staring today? Sure they can.
With the support of the Celtics fan base and the pride of their players, the Celtics could win this game, especially with Knicks guard J.R. Smith out due to suspension. However, NY must do what is it takes and close out this series and NOT give the Celtics any hope.
Peter A – Knickswag