By Mark C. Rinaldi
The New York Knicks are back in the playoffs, but stacked up against the Boston Celtics, who they haven’t beaten this season, and though it lacks the star power of a Knicks-Heat match up I personally feel this is the best situation for New York. The Celtics have been a morally broken team every since the trade deadline, and the Knicks are the hottest team in the NBA over the last few weeks.
If you were to choose up sides for a pick-up game, with all of the players on the Knicks and Celtics rosters at your disposal, the first two players picked would both be in orange and blue. You can disagree if you want, but if you do then you’re either an idiot, a soccer fan, or Canadian. Sorry KG, but Stat and Melo are the best two players in this series.
However, after the first two the board would be stalked with Celtics. Over the next 48- hours, leading up the Celtics-Knicks Game 1, we’ll be providing a position-by-position break down of the factors that will directly influence this series.
Just for the fun of it, each one of the eight factors is going to be worth ten points. For those who have Nate Robinson math skills, that means a perfect score would be an 80. There has never been a perfect NBA team and clearly both of these teams are far from it. But here is why I am giving the Knicks a punchers chance…
Part I: Doc Rivers vs. Mike D’Antoni
Part II: Rajon Rondo vs. Chauncey Billups
Part III: Ray Allen vs. Landry Fields
Part IV: Paul Pierce vs. Carmelo Anthony
With the exception of the rings, Paul Pierce has done everything better than just about every other Celtic great. Yes, he is old now but his veteran savvy will be something he needs to rely on in this first round match up. Pierce is clutch at both ends of the court and he can truly dominate a game with passing, rebounding, or scoring.
Opposing him is Carmelo Anthony, and undoubtedly Melo is the best one-on-one offensive player in the NBA. I’d bet money he will lead this series in points per game. He will test Pierce early and often, and look for Boston to change things up on Melo as much as possible.
Since coming to the Knicks, Melo’s defense and rebounding have been much improved. His rebounding has basically come out of necessity and his defense only comes in spurts, but if you can stop Lebron in the final seconds, then handling Pierce when it matters most shouldn’t be a problem.
Speaking of Lebron, he and Durant would be the 10’s at this position this year, but that doesn’t mean Melo and Pierce are far behind. I would have to give Anthony a 9 and Pierce an 8. The +1 at the small forward gives the Knicks there first victory in these rankings, I just hope it doesn’t take New York till mid way through the series to get a victory as well.
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