Boston Celtics (56-26) vs. New York Knicks (42-40)
Sunday at 7pm on TNT
We have heard all along that the Boston Celtics are playing for the playoffs. This was evidenced last week when the Celtics decided to concede the #2 seed in the East viewing rest as more important than playing the games out looking to grab a higher seed.
A team built on aging superstars IS expected to flip the switch in mid-April and dominate the playoff field en route to banner 18. Right, this is what we told ourselves through the dog days of winter as we watched countless trips to and from the injury report hoping and praying that each trip up the floor would not result in a turned ankle or a “sore Achilles” that would keep player X out for weeks.
Enter the New York Knicks. A team that is as atrocious on defense as they are dynamic on offense. Probably, the best opponent the Celtics could have hoped for to open the playoffs. Since early March, the Celtics are dead last in the NBA in points scored per game and desperately need to play against a team like the New York Knicks in order to get their offense going. If the Celtics are unable to ramp up their offensive production against a team like the New York Knicks and their 27th ranked scoring defense, then they have no business to be in the playoffs anyway.
Team defense is what the Celtics pride themselves on and on paper they should have no problem shutting down the Knicks and advancing onto round two. However, in a matter of weeks the Celtics have transformed into a much more timid club, a club that had seemed to have lost its killer instinct. Now, this could just be the case of a team of savvy vets knowing that they have nothing to prove during the home stretch of monotonous NBA regular season and no matter who they face in the playoffs, nobody is going to slow down this battle tested championship caliber club as they march on or this could be the case of a team of savvy vets that just got old.
Hardwood Houdini Predicts: Celtics win in 6 after losing game 1. Bam.