Most New York Knicks fans walked away from their 85-78 victory in Game 1 of the first round playoff game with mixed emotions. Yes, they defeated their arch rival in a contest that should not have been that close. But the problem was that it was that close.
I mean you hold the Boston Celtics to eight fourth-quarter points and 25 second-half points. Boston’s bench only gave head coach Doc Rivers four points. Kevin Garnett was a shell of himself, scoring eight points and grabbing nine rebounds. With all that going wrong for the Celtics on Saturday, they were still able to stay close for most of the game and were within striking distance towards the end. Knicks head coach Mike Woodson has to be concerned going into Game 2.
Carmelo Anthony came out with guns a blazing, drilling his first four field goals, but went stagnant for most of the second and third quarters. Boston played him well, with timely double teams and muscled him on the post. The biggest problem was not Anthony, but his teammates, who were like statues with little or no ball movement, giving Melo few options passing out of the double teams. If the Knicks are to put the Celtics out of their misery, they are going to have to revert back to that quick ball movement that propelled them to the 19-6 start and that long winning streak at the end of the regular season.
Raymond Felton also had a strong game for Mike Woodson scoring 13 points, grabbing 4 rebounds, dishing out 6 assists along with 2 steals. JR Smith also added 15 points. Melo, Felton and Smith did what we expect of them. However, Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin provided the sparks that ignited the squad to victory.
Kidd grabbed six rebounds, handed out three assists and scored eight points, but it was those three crucial steals in the final period that sealed the deal. Martin scored 10 huge points and grabbed nine rebounds. Without the two ex-New Jersey Nets teammates, the Knicks most likely would have lost that game. This is where the glass was half full.
If the Knicks are going to do anything in this post season, they are going to have to get more out of Steve Novak, who went scoreless, Tyson Chandler and Iman Shumpert. They got away with very little contribution from these key players on Saturday. This is where the glass was half empty.
Unfortunately, the results of Game 2 were not available at press time but one thing we do know is that the Knicks will have to raise their game if they plan to advance beyond the first and second rounds. You do not know how much the Boston Marathon bombings affected the Celtics or how much the crowd at the TD Bank Garden will uplift them when they return to Boston. If the Knicks expect to advance, they will have to play better than they did on Saturday.