Thursday, May 2, 2013

PLAYING FOR KEEPS!

Johnny J
Must have been stepped on by a Celtics' fan.
(photo courtesy of Johnny J)

The time is 12:23 AM, New York time. The Knicks are probably just landing in Boston.  It only takes about an hour from New York to Boston.  The Knicks should be well-rested since they didn't play last night. Oh wait--they did!  They lost 92-86 in a sluggish performance, despite the fact that they were so confident about closing out the series.  Instead, they are now losers of  two in a row.  The reality is the Knicks can mess around and lose this series. No team in the NBA has come back from a 3-0 deficit  The Celtics are in a win or go home stage so they have nothing to lose. But for New York, this is too close for comfort as the Empire State already knows how it feels for Boston to win four in a row (see the Red Sox beating the Yankees, four games to three, in the 2004 American League Championship)

I was looking forward to seeing the Knicks win their first playoff series since 2000. Then it hit me: the Knicks are not taking this game seriously. Knicks center/power forward, Kenyon Martin, told the team to wear all black to the game--"funeral colors"-- signifying that they were ending the Celtics in game 5. As a Knicks' fan and a fan of sports, that is something you do not do.  Don't give this team any hope.  Don't give them any type of extra motivation.  That's unacceptable because this is not the regular season--it's the playoffs!  Everything is different! You don't see the Miami Heat going around saying stupid thinks like that. That's a championship team.  A team that stays poised.  A team that doesn't let any distractions get to them. They just go out there and get it done.  The Knicks are just showing when they get in the spotlight, they just can't smile and wave like the penguins from Madagascar. They have to stir up the pot.


The Celtics are playing for keeps.  You win a game and you hold on to it.  It seems like the momentum changed for Boston when J.R. Smith elbowed Jason Terry, which put him on his back.  After that, Terry has been on a tear, finally earning his $30 million dollar contract he signed in the offseason. Terry made 5 three-pointers on Wednesday. While Smith made a whopping one field goal. He missed his first 10 shots. It seemed like that one-game suspension made him rusty, like he lost his rhythm. A very disappointing night, for the acclimated sixth man, who said the series should have been over and that he should be playing golf somewhere. Hey Smith, do you have an 0-10 iron?

“This is a new group,” coach Mike Woodson said. “And what they’re learning is that in playoff basketball, anything is liable to happen. We have to save our energy and stay composed on the floor. If we play the way we’re capable of, we’ll be all right.”

Coach, just said it right there--STAY COMPOSED. Play your game.  Stop the Isolations to Carmelo Anthony as he forces dumb shots. The scoring champ is getting his points, but he's taking 30 shots to get it (summoning his inner, Allen Iverson. Former teammates--Ed). That's what you call ugly shooting. During the regular season, he was in Iso 26 percent of the time.  In the first round of the playoffs, that number jumped to 43 percent. In game 4, when Smith was suspended, it wen't to 49 percent. Message to Carmelo--TRUST your teammates!  You can't win championships by yourself.

The Knicks are the only team in the Eastern Conference that I believe can make life hard for the Heat. If the Knicks lose, it's safe to say Miami is coming out as Conference champs. In order for that not to happen, the Knicks have to stay cool. Play your style of basketball, minus the 50 percent Isos for Anthony. This is pressure time now. Keep the smart comments out of the media, at least until you hoist the trophy.

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