Hardwood Houdini took some time out of its busy day to swap emails with the fine folks over at Buckets Over Broadway regarding the hard fought series between the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks.
Following the same trend as an earlier post that focused on why the Celtics would win and lose, we get to see how Knicks fans view their team’s chances against the Celtics in this epic round one match up:
Reasons Why The Knicks Will Lose:
Health—After continuously fighting through two games and losing by a combined 5 points while holding the lead with under a minute left in each, the Knicks have found more obstacles to overcome than most would suspect possible. Amar’e has an always unpredictable back injury that forced him to miss almost all of Game 2, possibly more. And Chauncey Billups strained his knee at the end of Game 1, forcing him to miss all of Game 2 and leaving the word questionable next to his name on the official press release. These are two extremely important players for New York, and if they can’t go the Knicks chances of victory plummets to very little.
Transition Defense—In the half court, the Knicks are surprising a lot of people (Boston included) with their tenacious defensive play. The Celtics forced bad shot after bad shot in Game 1, but, thanks to Rondo, Game 2 was a different story. The Celtics point guard pushed defensive rebounds up the court and attacked the rim with reckless abandon. With Chauncey out and the Knicks not especially looking to give Anthony Carter heavy minutes, Toney Douglas kept giving Rondo the matador defense, allowing him to score a personal playoff high 30 points. If the Knicks want to win Game 3, they’ll need to make over 50% of their jump shots and then hustle back on defense.
Coaching Discrepancy—Doc Rivers is absolutely owning D’Antoni through two games. It’s almost like the Knicks coach only comes to the table with a brilliant Plan A, and when Rivers’ Celtics take it away all of New York’s players look lost. From the Kevin Garnett alley-oop to the Carmelo double team which forced the ball to Jared Jeffries in crunch time, Rivers is dominating this matchup to the point where it could cost D’Antoni his job.
Reasons Why The Knicks Will Win:
Rebounding—After facing a rebound deficit in Game 1, the Knicks responded by out rebounding the C’s 53-37. New York had 20 (!) offensive boards and it was easily the biggest reason they were able to hang in the game. If New York can continue to dominate the offensive glass, they may not need Chauncey to win.
Toney Douglas—He was the looming X-Factor before this series started and as of now he remains in the role. So far, Douglas has disappointed on the defensive end, but offensively he’s making some huge shots. If his aggressiveness is able to grow and he’s somehow able to find the hot hand, Douglas could be a huge difference maker.
Carmelo Anthony—Why not? We know one guy can’t beat five, but Carmelo came damn close in Game 2. He finished with 17 rebounds to go along with his 482 points, and drew instant double teams down the stretch—something the Celtics don’t normally like to do. Should Anthony have another game like this and a few mistakes are corrected, the Knicks can easily even this thing up.