By Charles R. Trimble III
It’s such an exciting time to be a New York Knickerbockers fan. The Knicks hold a 2-0 lead over the Celtics in the 1st round, J.R. Smith was recently named NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year, and Carmelo Anthony is playing the best and most fearless basketball of his career. These things have directly led to the success of this year’s team. Even Coach Woodson, who I have been critical of from time to time this season, is pushing all the right buttons.
So what does it all mean? It means for the first time in 13 years the Knicks have a legitimate shot at ending the franchise’s 40-year championship drought! To do that the Knicks will have to contend with some talented teams, mainly the Miami Heat, but it all starts with the continued dismantling of the Boston Celtics.
So far during the first round, we’ve learned that a Rondo-less Celtics squad has no business on the court with the Knicks. The Knicks are deeper, more talented and most importantly, hungrier than a Celtics team that has basked in the glow of past playoff success. It’s imperative that the Knicks end this series as soon as possible and keep pace with a Heat and Pacer team poised for relatively quick 1st round victories. Historically the Knicks have been in this position plenty of times:
In 1994 the Knicks had a golden opportunity up 2-0, to make it a quick series against the Chicago Bulls only to have a lucky Toni Kukoc three and brawl extend that series to seven. With the age of the core players being what it is, Woodson must keep these guys focused and not let them become relaxed, regardless of how dominate they seem to be.
In 1997, the Knicks took a 2-0 lead out to Charlotte for an emotional Game 3 against Anthony Mason and the Hornets! New York Knicks forward Larry Johnson helped propel the Knicks past the Hornets. This is the type of performance the Knicks need this weekend in Boston to ensure a victory and give the chance for our core players to get rest. It would be to the Knicks advantage to make short work of Boston so the rotation players do not have to extend themselves more than necessary.
Things can go two ways this weekend in Boston, it’s either going to be an extended series or a short series one way or another. One thing we know is offense may or may not travel in the playoffs, but defense sure does! With the Knicks defense, led by Kenyon Martin, dominating the way it has, let’s hope for the latter.
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