True Hoops

True Hoops

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Green Monster

You won't like us when we're angry

Boy, when you are are wrong.
And regarding game 3 of the Knicks/Celtics series I was wrong...... on all accounts.

I thought the Knicks had a great chance of getting back into the series with a win.
The Celtics won by 17, and the game was never really that close.
Boston came out of the gates and smoked them.

I thought the Knicks had the two best players in the series.
Someone forgot to tell that to Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo.

Their stats for game 3:
Allen: 32 points on 11-18 shooting (8-11 on 3's!)
Pierce: 38 points on 14-19 shooting (6-9 on 3's!)
I should note Allen and Pierce are shooting 63 and 53% for the series, respectively.

Rondo, orchestrating: 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 20 assists!

I have to wonder whether this performance by Pierce was personal.
After all, Carmelo had 42 in the pervious game. Was Pierce coming back with 38 a statement.

He held Carmelo to 15 points on 4-16 shooting.

Paul Pierce is an interesting fellow, he never seems to get credit for being one of the best players in the NBA. Yet, he always seems to come through in big games, on both sides of the floor, against other elite players.
Remember back in the summer of '08 after the Celtics won the chip, when the USA basketball redeem team was out winning the gold medal in the olympics, Pierce made the claim that he was really the best player in the world. At the time, he had an argument. Maybe he still does.
Look at what he has been able to do in match-ups against Kobe and LeBron, and now Carmelo.

The Pierce-Carmelo match-up is also interesting in the sense that they seem to be similar players. They both rely more on skill rather than athleticism.
They both also seem to be upstaged by their counterparts.
Pierce is over shadowed by Kobe, Carmelo is overshadowed by Lebron.

Still, you can't put all of the Knicks woes on Carmelo.
This is what he has faced since game 2:

Rarely has he seen single coverage. Which may be part of the reason he is shooting only 36% for the series. Yet to his credit, he is still averaging 24 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists. 

This whole situation is a little unfair to him, the Knicks, and unfortunately New York. 
Amar'e was no where near close to 100% healthy. I heard his back "locked up" on him at some point during the game. We should all give him credit for trying to play.
I was actually wondering if he would have sort of a Willis Reed moment for the Knicks. Amar'e even came on to the court after the rest of his teammates to an ovation from the crowd. Not sure if that was because he was getting some extra treatment in the locker room or if was intentional to rev up the Garden.
Unfortunately, it did not have the desired effect.

Not to mention that Billups hasn't really played either.
So what could you really expect expect?

Well, it would have been nice if the Knicks came out with that new found grit and toughness that was on display for the first two games in Boston. But that was no where to be found. And that was probably what was most disappointing.
With all of their injuries the Knicks were clearly overmatched by Boston.
But they also looked overwhelmed by the moment.

On the other hand, the celtics were simply remarkable.
And just like Ray Allen's shooting form, the Celtics performance looked so smooth and effortless.

For a number of reasons, I thought that after the Celtics beat the Knicks in the first round, they would get whooped by the Heat.
After last night's performance, I'm not so sure anymore.
How many times are the Celtics going to do this?
How many times are they going to go into the playoffs, looking dead, and then turn it on to make a run?
The Celtics/Heat series looks like it will be epic.
It also looks as if the winner of that series will come out of the East.
I am still going with the Heat at this point.

As for the Knicks, I still think they have made tremendous strides this season.
I was at their first home game of the season - Amar'e's first game at MSG.
I was there for Carmelo's first game.
I was also there on Friday for the Knicks first home playoffs game in 8 years.
All games had their moments of excitement, but in the end were a little underwhelming.
I will be there later today for perhaps their last game of the season.
Hopefully they can go out with a high note.

I still feel the Knicks can be an elite team in the near future, especially if they can add a solid big and an elite point guard (or vice versa). If they can play with the toughness displayed in the first two games of this season as well as some improved metal toughness, maybe they can even be a 3 or 4 seed going into next year's playoffs.

I guess we'll have to wait and see.


  1. Hey Jon, it's Jared from ESPN New York ... great running into you at the Knicks-Celtics game ... What's your e-mail? Mine is -- hit me up! Would love to chat about international hoops, etc.

  2. I'm sorry but D'Antoni is to blame for this sweep. Sure players were hurt but that's still no reason to get swept. The Knick players showed a lot of fight, but D'Antoni's "we'll live with it" style of play isn't gonna cut it. I can see he's telling players to play defense but HOW he's telling them to play isn't effective. Through 4 games he made no adjustments. Douglas was pounded into the ground by Rondo b/c he was playing back, it wasn't until Carter went against what the coach said and Celtics offense started to feel pressure, IN THE 2ND HALF OF THE LAST GAME. Tony's strenght defensively is to be a pest and pressure the ball handler. I understand that D'Antoni had a plan to try to force Rondo to take the outside shot but when that does work after 2 quarters into a seriers you have to make the adjustment. If you don't play smart bball against a championship team you have to expect to get swept.