The 2012 Eastern Conference Finals presents a stuck-between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place dilemma for the New York Knicks fans.
On one hand, there is the Miami Heat: the NBA’s top villains; the team that finished the Knicks’ 2011-12 season.
On the other hand, there is the Boston Celtics: a cruel, crafty, conniving group that loves to break the Knicks’ collective hearts in dramatic fashion. They also finished the Knicks 2010-11 season with a sweep in the playoffs.
It’s a battle of evil vs. evil; Darth Vader vs. Voldemort; Freddie Kruger vs. Jason; Hannibal Lecter vs. … another cannibal.
So who are we, as Knicks fans, supposed to root for?
For some, the Miami Heat is the answer.
Often times, fans – and even players and coaches – take solace in seeing the team that eliminated them, advance further into the playoffs; letting them know they lost to the best team. As if the five-game defeat the Knicks suffered at the hands of the Heat wasn’t pride-shattering enough, imagine if Miami didn’t even make it to the Finals. Furthermore, if the Heat lost to a team that the Knicks had beaten twice in the regular season – the Celtics – , what would that say about the Knicks?
On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, fans might take comfort in seeing their most recent assassins sent packing, and once again, failing to live up to the lofty, (self-proclaimed) championship goals. Likewise, the Celtics haven’t wronged the Knicks since March, while the Miami Heat have done so four times in the past month.
(I would like to use this space to remind you, though, that the Boston Celtics have made a habit of ripping our hearts out in front of us. Paul Pierce game-winner. Ray Allen Game 1 game-winner. Game 2 fumbled play. Paul Pierce game-tying basket, and ultimate overtime win. OK, remember? Sorry, I had to do that.)
However, if you’re like me, you’re rooting for the best basketball to be played. Whichever team advances will play the San Antonio Spurs or Oklahoma City Thunder in a sure-fire good vs. evil matchup. Watching the humble, plodding, machine-like precision of the Spurs face the high-flying Heat would be a delight. Some fans might enjoy watching the NBA’s two old guards – the Spurs and the Celtics – play each other in one last grasp at a championship. The Thunder vs. the Heat would be the NBA’s dream matchup – a display of young, athletic, star-fueled action that would surely boost TV ratings to a new high.
However, there is no doubt that the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals will draw some pain for Knicks fans. I would prefer not to watch Paul Pierce’s smug, patchy-haired face bow to opposing crowds in blazes of bravado, or watch Kevin Garnett bark around the court like a rabid, admirably unwavering dog. At the same time, watching the Miami Big Three flex and flop and dance and dunk their way around the court for another two series would make my stomach churn.
Consider me a San Antonio Spurs fan for the remainder of the season.