Quantcast 2011 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs: Round One - New York vs Boston

 

2011 NBA Playoff Preview – Eastern Conference First Round

Eastern Conference First Round Game 4 - Boston 101, New York 89 – Celtics win series, 4-0

 

 

Yes, they were shorthanded, and yes, they reorganized their roster too late in the regular season to expect a deep playoff run. Yet, the bitter taste of a four-game sweep has to sting a little bit in the locker room of New York’s professional basketball team.

For all the hubbub regarding the acquisitions of Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, a first-round sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics proved that the New York Knicks still have a great distance to go if the once proud franchise wants to compete in the Eastern Conference. Boston dominated the middle portion of the contest on Sunday afternoon at a subdued Madison Square Garden, pushing its lead to 70-48 in the third quarter before the Knicks mounted a rally. Kevin Garnett had 26 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Celtics, who avoided their third extended first round series in the past four seasons. Boston was taken to seven games in both 2007-2008 and 2008-2009, but not this year. And old and creaky team might be rusty when it takes the court for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against (most likely) the Miami Heat, but in the long run, Boston will be rested for the long haul of May basketball.

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The Celtics dominated the boards and stifled the Knicks defensively in Game 4. New York was hampered by nagging injuries and failed to win yet another playoff game despite a decent performance from Anthony. The former Denver Nugget scored 32 points, though not in the precise moments when the Knicks had a chance to win. New York trimmed a double-digit deficit to as little as four points in the final stanza after an Anthony Carter jumper with 7:35 remaining. Boston responded with a 15-6 run over the next seven minutes to secure the victory, and it’s instructive to note that Anthony missed multiple bunnies plus a three-pointer in that stretch of time. The Knicks fought a lot harder in this game than they did in Game 3 on Friday night, but they still couldn’t hit the shots they absolutely had to hit.

 

 

Stoudemire, still hampered with a back injury, was just 5-of-20 from the field. His struggles were emblematic of the Knicks in general, who shot just 34 percent from the field, including 8-of-27 beyond the arc. New York also missed Chauncey Billups, the point guard who gave flow and form to coach Mike D’Antoni’s offense. 

Boston will be written about a lot more in the weeks to come. For one day, the main story was that the New York Knicks’ project must acquire many more dimensions if it’s going to unfold in a successful manner. The 2011-2012 season will determine D’Antoni’s long-term future and define the Knick organization for many years to come. We’ll see if this sweep at the hands of the Celtics becomes a positive turning point for the franchise, or just another bitter experience that leads to more pain in the years ahead.

 

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By: Matt Zemek
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer


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