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2011 NBA Playoffs: Celtics vs Knicks Game 1 Recap

A few years ago, the New York Knicks decided to give Mike D’ Antoni a 4 year 24 million dollar after he spent almost a decade coaching the Suns like an eight year old who needs a Ritalin prescription. A D’ Antoni team can always outscore you and outrun you; they make the old-timers pine for the days of defense and no 3 point shot, but keep the ADHD SportsCenter generation on the edge of their seat. Back in December, if you told me that I should be anxious about a Knicks-Celtics playoff series I would probably lose all respect for you as a basketball fan and a human being. The Knicks were a run and gun, let’s do nothing else but shoot as many threes and dunk as many times as we can kind of team. Even with superstar Amar’e Stoudemire, they still played about as much defense as a middle school nerd who keeps getting shoved into lockers. In October, Rajon Rondo shredded the Knicks Swiss cheese defense for 24 assists, half of Blake Griffin’s top dunks this year have come at the expense of a Knicks big man, and Air Bud dropped 32 on Galinari in January. Since the Carmelo Anthony trade, not that much has changed. The Knicks still don’t play any defense, but now they have two of the best scorers of their generation and a veteran point guard who has won a championship in Chauncey Billups.

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The reason I’m anxious about this first round matchup is that the Celtics seem to have a lost a bit of their swagger. Last year when the C’s limped into the playoffs they faced Dwayne Wade and a weak Miami Heat team, this year the Celtics have to hold back two superstars and a young team that could be able to run them off the court. Both Melo and Stoudemire have the ability to take over a game, and if the duo can do it at the same time, the Celtics will certainly have a tough hill to climb. The key to the series, as always, resides in the play of Rondo and the Celtics defense. Rondo has shown that he can tear apart the Knicks, yet his play as suffered in the last two months of the season -- hopefully as a result of apathy and not injury. The Knicks make around nine threes a game, so the Celtics have to close out on shooters. The area where the Celtics should have the biggest advantage in this game is bench play. Toney Douglas may be slightly better than Delonte West, but Jeff Green, Glen Davis, and Nenad Kristic are an upgrade over Anthony Carter, Bill Walker, and Jared Jeffries.

The truth is that the rest of the NBA is rooting for the Knicks in this series. The Celtics are in a low place going into this matchup, and a series win could bring back the kind of confidence this team needs to run roughshod over the rest of the league. Here’s to the 2011 NBA playoffs; to the buzzer beaters, redemption stories, to new heroes and old heroes. I hope this year comes through with at least one strangulation of a European teammate by Kobe, at least one rumor of a sexual tryst between a player and LeBron’s mom, and a couple of fights between freakishly large basketball players.



By: Jared Seigal
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer

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