In a repeat of the New York Knicks first playoff appearance two years ago, the Knicks will take on the Boston Celtics in the first round but this time the roles have changed.
The Knicks this time are the favorite and the higher seed and with home-court advantage while the Celtics are the team rattled with injuries. Rajon Rondo is out for the season and Ray Allen will not be on the court for the Celtics, which is music to Knicks fans’ ears.
Let’ look at a preview of Game 1.
When: Saturday, April 19th at 3:00 PM
Where: Madison Square Garden in New York, NY
Line: Knicks -7
When the Knicks have the ball: 100 PPG (11th in NBA), Boston 96.7 Points allowed (12th in NBA)
When the Celtics have the ball: 96.5 PPG (18th in NBA), New York 95.7 Points allowed (7th in NBA)
Key Matchup: Carmelo Anthony vs. Paul Pierce
The Celtics will have an obvious chip on the shoulder feeling and will want to carry their hometown after this week’s tragic events. There’s nothing the Knicks can do to stop that but it’s pretty obvious the Knicks are the better team. The Knicks have a stellar 31-10 record at the Garden this season, while the Celtics struggled on the road with a 14-27 record.
Carmelo vs. Pierce will be the key matchup all series long. Pierce is a warrior and steps up his game up this time of year, but Carmelo is on a mission. The NBA scoring champion has been fire and will look to put on a show this opening game to send a statement to the NBA that the Knicks are a serious title contender.
Kevin Garnett is another player Mike Woodson has to worry about, but he’s nothing Tyson Chandler can’t handle. Garnett and Anthony had a feud this season and it will be interesting to see these two go at it the entire series. I believe Boston will win a game at home in front of their tough and inspired crowd, but the Knicks at home will be too much to handle at home.
Prediction :Knicks: 104, Celtics: 95