The immense intriguing and tremendous rivalry between the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks will take the 2013 NBA playoff stage on Saturday at 3 p.m.
That being said, this matchup consists of high expectations and many distinct clashes between a star and uprising star, the guard play and Amar’e Stoudemire’s absence.
Jeff Green vs. Scoring champion Carmelo Anthony
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Throughout the course of the season, mainly March 31, Anthony and Green have stood out to be a deadly combination to television viewers, and in Saturday’s matinee and beyond may subject a back and forth, mono e mono-esque battle.
Green has been the anchor to Boston’s 2013 ship, but for them to succeed he must bring his A-game every single night. The four-year point forward has been distinguished as a dynamic, athletic player, but his 12.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per contest must elevate. While Paul Pierce and company will bring a presence like no other. It is vital he opposes as a threat on the defensive and offensive side of the basketball, meaning, grabbing boards and taking the ball to the hoop.
Anthony has been characterized as NBA’s best scorer in 2013, and his production versus any other year involves one factor: his consistency. In his previous 10 games, the nine-year point forward has posted a staggering 54 percent from the field while averaging 36.9 points, and 9.9 rebounds per game. Anthony, who has been characterized as a prolific scorer has made his presence known defensively and becoming more aggressive (via 6.9 rebounds on the season). But in the upcoming days, whether it is small ball or big scheme Doc Rivers presents, he will have a true test to handle, especially facing the versatile Green.
So who wins the matchup?
There is no doubt in my mind, with all expectations invested, this clash between these two specimens will have the tweeters chatting. With that, I like Green in this clash. Whenever, he goes toe-to-toe with the Knickerbockers his relentless attitude to find his shot is prevalent.
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Avery Bradley vs. J.R. Smith
Ever since Rajon Rondo left with a season-ending ACL injury, Bradley has been the general on the floor alongside Courtney Lee, and his presence on the other has been known on a consistent basis. The two-year guard has possessed the basketball in more ways than one. Defensively, Bradley has had the privilege of vindicating the top-tier guards in the NBA. His defensive tactics include being a pest on his oppositions, not allowing any breathing room. Bradley recorded 1.3 steals in the 2013 season. Offensively, Bradley is slowly turning into an offensive threat, registering 9.2 points while knocking down a 12-15 foot jumper on an everyday basis.
With Pablo Prigioni missing Saturday’s game due to an apparent ankle injury, Smith will get the nod. For some reason, this man always brings an offensive mindset on every team he has played on. But with the Knicks his presence has been made shooting the three-point shot. Throughout the season, 35.6 percent from beyond the arc. His defense lacks, but as long as his scoring remains dominant, he should be in good hands.
Evaluating who has the advantage isn’t easy. It’s Bradley’s resilient and sufficient defense against Smith’s scoring ease. The Celtics guard will have a tough time guarding Smith, the eight-year front court player has the ability to make incredible and clutch shots time and time again.
No Amar’e? Expect a field day for Kevin Garnett
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Amar’e Stoudemire will once again be out for a small duration of time, and will likely miss the first round against the Celtics, according to the New York Daily News.
Stoudemire’s absence defines two things: bad news for the Knicks and good news for the Celtics.
Kevin Garnett thrives off of energy and motivation before and in-game settings, and there is no doubt he believes there could be a field day in the painted area in the upcoming series. Without Stoudemire, Kenyon Martin and Tyson Chandler will have to step it up a notch. New York averages 40.6 rebounds per game (26th in the league) while the Celtics are ranked 29th averaging 39.3. But even without Stoudemire, Garnett will still have a battle going up against Chandler and Martin.
KG, who turns 37 on May 19, still has some gas left in his hefty engine, but not much. Garnett will have the edge without Stoudemire, but his rebounding numbers will entail if Doc Rivers’ team advances to the next round.
Check out the historic battle on ABC at 3 p.m. Saturday. It should be an interesting sight to see.
Prediction: The green team will take on the great city of Boston on its back, and expect them to win in six, 4-2.