New York Knicks Playoff Preview
Added by Greg Rappaport on April 17, 2013.
Photo credit: Kathy Willens, Associated Press.
Ever since the infamous Honey Nut Cheerios game on January 7th, the New York Knicks have not lost to the Boston Celtics. And now, on Saturday (time T.B.A.), the ‘Bockers will square off against their green-clad rival at Madison Square Garden, looking to improve to 4-1 against the C’s on the season.
The Knicks, who currently boast a 53-28 record, have given their long dejected fanbase hope that they might advance past the first round for the first time since the 1999-2000 season (I was all of 10-years-old that year). Over the past two seasons, the Knicks are 1-8 in the first round, with four of those losses from getting swept by Boston in ‘Melo’s inaugural campaign as a Knick.
But New York, winners of the Atlantic Division for the first time since 1994 (when I was 5…), appear to be a completely different team than the 2011 and 2012 squads. They have built a cohesive team around the frontcourt of Chandler and Anthony, and reigned three-pointers on opponents all season by spreading the floor.
While many of the teams veteran players such as Rasheed Wallace and Kurt Thomas look like they might never leave the pine as a result of injuries, Kidd and Chandler—who were both on the Mavericks team that defeated LeBron’s Heat—are ready to lead.
Much of the Knicks’ success in the first round will rely on the play of Carmelo Anthony. If ‘Melo can continue his prolific scoring which has locked up the scoring title for the versatile power forward, then look for the Knicks to cruise through round one. If the ‘Bockers begin to stumble, it will likely be because crafty veteran Kevin Garnett was able to bother ‘Melo with his hall of fame caliber trash talking.
As both a fan and a writer, it’s hard not to feel a bit of giddiness for these playoffs to begin. So much of the talk has centered around the Knicks being one of the few teams equipped to beat the Heat (NY has a 3-1 edge this season), but like the Knicks, I’m trying to take it one game at a time.
My prediction for the series: Knicks win 4-1.
I harbor a lot of respect for the Celtics since they have essentially mopped the floor with the Knicks for sometime now. But the Knicks franchise seems to be on the rise as quickly as the Celtics are falling. Despite an impressive regular season performance sans Rajon Rondo, I don’t think the Celtics will have the firepower to match the Knicks offensive threats. While I’m only expecting five games this series, I’m also expecting them all to be close. So grab a bowl of your favorite cereal, park yourself on the couch, and get ready to watch the show—the playoffs have arrived.