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Best NBA Playoff Matchup: 3 Celtics vs. 6 Knicks

Best NBA Playoff Matchup: 3 Celtics vs. 6 Knicks

Best NBA Playoff Matchup: 3 Celtics vs. 6 Knicks

New York vs Boston, New York vs Boston. Madison Square Garden and TD Banknorth Garden (Ok it doesn't have the same aura as the old Boston Garden). This series will show that the bad blood between the cities isn't only Yankees vs Red Sox.
The Celtics and Knicks will play a best of seven series in the NBA first round. It has been an up and down year for the Knicks. They started the season strong with newly aquired Raymond Felton and Amare Stoudemire. Then during the middle of the season, there were rumors of the Knicks landing Carmelo Anthony. They finally aquired Carmelo, Chauncey Billups, and Anthony Carter while giving up Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, and Tim Mozgov. Some feel the Knicks gave up to much for essentially a one dimensional player, who can score but can't play defense. It was a clear distraction as the Knicks fell to seventh place in the standings and even with Carmelo they fell to 35-38 with the playoffs around the corner. But things have turned around for the Knicks. Before last nights game against the Bulls, the Knicks were on a 7 game win streak.
The Celtics on the other hand have had many problems of their own. Despite leading the conference for most of the season, the Celtics have faultered late and only finished up with the conference's third seed. The Bulls finished first, while the Heat turned it on late to earn the second seed. The Celtics have had injury problems with Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo has not been playing at an all star level.
Another problem with the Celtics, that has affected team chemistry, was their trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Boston gave up Kendrick Perkins, who was loved by his teammates and was a quality low post defender. He really turned up his play during the 2010 playoffs and helped the Celtics get to the finals. I believe if he wasn't injured for game 7, the Celtics would have beat the Lakers for the title. But the Celtics felt he wasn't in their long term plans after he didn't sign an extension at the beginning of the season. So the Celtics basically kicked him out the door for Jeff Green (who is a quality swingman bench player) and Nenad Krstic (who is a quality player also but not as strong or tough as Perkins). Celtics were mad at management and basically haven't played as hard as they can. All in all though, the postives for the Celtics in this series are that they have owned the Knicks this year, winning all three games they have played going into tonights season finale against the Knicks, and they can turn up their play in the playoffs just like they did last year.
Key Players to Watch: 
Carmelo Anthony - Best pure scorer in the league many have said. He can post up, sink mid-range shots, and run the fast break with authority. Carmelo must show the world he can lead the team to the finals and that he can add an defense stopper to his resume. The farthest he has reached was the conference finals with Nuggets.

Amare Stoudemire - Another All-Star on the Knicks Roster. Great post up game with the ability to finish at the rim. Along with Carmelo, must become a defensive stopper to advance to next round of playoffs.
Chauncey Billups - Mr. Big Shot. Has hit countless shots in the final minutes of playoff games. Many people have written him off as a great player and scorer. I think he will come up clutch in some games during this season.
Kevin Garnett - An all-time great, must continue to make his defense presence known by getting rebounds and getting under the Knicks skin by trash talking.
Ray Allen - NBA's all time leading 3 point shot maker. Defense's key on not letting him make three's but he still gets countless open looks and nails them.
Paul Pierce - He is the Celtics do it all man. He is the leader of the team and the best scorer on the team. Look for his to get isolation or pick and rolls during the ends of games. He is a closer.
Rajon Rondo - Another All-Star for the Celtics. He has come back down to earth since the 17 assists a game he was averaging at the beginning of the season. Defenses play back on him because they know he is not a good shooter. He really needs to keep getting the ball to other players while pushing the ball in transition. But he also needs to hit open look baskets that teams are letting him shoot.
This should be a great series, I think the Knicks will play hard but the Celtics will win in 6 games.


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