The New York Knicks don’t remember what it’s like to be in a postseason series and have their way with a much weaker rival, as Carmelo Anthony can’t seem to stop scoring while Raymond Felton makes the most of not having a single point guard on the other side of the ball to oppose him and challenge him.
It’s now 3-0, and the Boston Celtics just seem to be withering away offensively, this time leaving the worst of their shooting in the first half, scoring only 31 points during the first couple of quarters before losing 90-76 at home. Anthony led the way with 26 points (12-25 from the field), not doing anything else in the 37 minutes he played in. One rebound, 0 assists. And yet that’s what the Knicks need from him – scoring, and that’s pretty much it.
Their win by 14 points is their fourth largest margin of victory in a road playoff game in the last 30 seasons and largest since 1999. The last time the Knicks beat the Celtics by more than 14 points in a playoff game in Boston was in 1973, when they won 94-78. However, they are having a little bit of trouble with the Celtics’ defense, not managing to get past that 100 points mark.
The Knicks have scored under 100 points in each of their last 43 postseason games dating back to June 1999. It is the longest streak of its kind in NBA playoff history and it’s longer than any regular season streak in the shot clock era (since 1954-55). Their last 100-point game in the playoffs came in Game 5 of the 1999 Eastern Conference Finals against the Pacers.
The Boston Celtics are done. The era is over, and there isn’t much left to give. The Celtics shot only 40% from the field, led by Jeff Green with 21 points. But the bench, the most important issue they needed to step up during this series, scored only 10 points. Paul Pierce wasn’t any more than ordinary, scoring 17 points on 40% from the field. Kevin Garnett, scoring only 12 points (but did grab 17 rebounds) looked like an old man, who doesn’t have much left to give, despite all the pride at stake.
Right now at this point, just take it one game at a time. They haven’t won it yet.
If the Celtics truly believe that, they are quite lost, or delusional. Raymond Felton finished with 15 points and added 10 assists in a very successful postseason start for him after not the best of endings to the season. While Carmelo Anthony is drawing most of the attention, the Knicks are doing what they’re best at – hitting three pointers (11-27) and not falling apart even if J.R. Smith loses his cool and nails an elbow to the face of Jason Terry. And you would have thought the Celtics would be the bitter team.
The Knicks aren’t on the verge of a new era, but they’re simply a very good team, good enough to sweep a team Doc Rivers thought might be able to halt the wheels of time this season, but fell apart as the season came to a close. Mike Woodson might not be the most sophisticated of coaches, but it isn’t sophistication the Knicks needed to turn a page and take the next step in the postseason. Whatever it is they needed, Mike Woodson brought it to the table.