It’s been quite a while since the New York Knicks have been the dominant team in their traditional rivalry with the Boston Celtics, but time, injuries and ability, especially that of a superstar like Carmelo Anthony, have changed the balance of power between the two teams, in what looks like a preview, going in favor of the Knicks, for the 2013 NBA Playoffs.
The Knicks are going to finish either second or third in the NBA East; the Boston Celtics will be, most likely, the team at 7th, although their recent form suggests that 8th isn’t out of the picture, following their 100-85 loss to the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony didn’t really do any favors to himself when it comes to complaints about him ball-hogging the ball, but these are the Knicks in 2013. It’s all about Anthony touching the ball on every possession, and usually shooting it with horrendous success ratios, but it’s something that works in the regular season.
Anthony finished with 29 points on 10-30 from the field, but enjoyed the unreliable yet very hot hand of J.R. Smith from the bench, adding 32 points to the fight, who seems to be changing his game a little bit over the last few games, taking less and less tough and contested shots from too far away, while shooting closer to the rim, where his strength and athleticism seem to be working in his favor, more than ever before. When Smith is going 13-24 from the field while hardly attempting anything from beyond the arc, you know he was having a good day.
Let’s just be quite frank about them. We always want to beat Boston. New York in anything wants to beat Boston and when we do, it’s a great feeling.
A lot of teams have been waiting around the corner for the Celtics to fall apart. While they aren’t exactly a doormat, having beaten the Knicks once this season in a game that put the spotlight on some bad blood between Kevin Garnett and Carmelo Anthony, they’re no longer one of the beasts in the East, while Kevin Garnett continues to sit out games and Paul Pierce struggles to keep his head above water, never knowing if he’s going to get a decent game out of Jeff Green playing next to him.
The Knicks aren’t strangers to injuries this season – they don’t feel sorry for a “bad” team like the Celtics, who weren’t exactly compassionate rulers during their regin in the Atlantic division now becoming the third team behind the two Big Apple teams. Not having a point guard while the Knicks present Raymond Felton, Prigioni and Jason Kidd coming off the bench in their ever changing rotational adjustments does hurt in the long run after some games in which defensive effort masks and hides certain problems.
With Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler out injured, there’s no one to even think about challenging the offensive dominance of Carmelo Anthony. While the Knicks looked like a system with a plan and agenda earlier this season, that is no longer the case. It’s about Anthony and Smith being first and last stops to any pass heading their way, which should be enough for a second or third spot in the Eastern Conference, but it’s hard seeing them going far in the postseason with this kind of selfish basketball.