It seemed like a repeat of Games 1 and 2 of last year’s NBA Quarterfinal between the Knicks and Celtics was brewing when the two teams met today; the Knicks lead at halftime and quickly coughed it up in the second half.
But this time around, it was a proven different Knicks team, and a different outcome. After Carmelo Anthony knocked down two free throws, and Kevin Garnett missed a jumper at the buzzer, it felt like more than just one opening day win for New York. It proved this team can win close games against good teams, something they were not able to do last April.
No, the Celtics did not have Paul Pierce, a guy they often go to with the game on the line. They did, however, have Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Rajon Rondo, and beating them is no small task. Not to mention, New York is without point guard Baron Davis, and when he is able to return he should bring much needed help at the position.
The Knicks got off to a booming start in this highly anticipated Christmas Day matchup, as they opened up a 11 point lead by the conclusion of the first quarter, and extended it to as much as 17 in the second quarter. Boston did cut this lead to ten at the half, and when Carmelo was taken out of the game in the third quarter due to foul trouble, the Celtics took advantage and went on a run to take an eight point lead into the final quarter.
Enter Carmelo Anthony back into the game, and the Knicks suddenly got right back into the thick of things after an Antony three pointer tied the game at 100 with 3:25 left. Carmelo then gave the Knicks a two point advantage with 16 seconds remaining after drawing a foul and knocking down both of his free throws.
After Garnett’s jumper was off the mark, Madison Square Garden erupted at the joy of their Knicks, a team that was so dismal just a few years ago, defeated the mighty Boston Celtics for the first time since 2010.
The change of the basketball culture in New York is truly amazing. Long considered the world’s mecca of basketball, New York was forced to root for possibly the worst franchise in sports for some time in the Knicks. Sunday’s win is likely the first of many for the 2011-12 Knicks, who have aspirations of winning the Eastern Conference.
If there is anything else this game proves, it is that Carmelo Anthony is undoubtedly this team’s MVP. Carmelo had 37 points, and took complete control of the game in the fourth quarter, something that we all know he is capable of.
The only negative coming out of today’s win was the injury of Iman Shumpert’s knee. The rookie is reportedly being expect to miss two to four weeks, something that nobody wants to see any player go through, let alone a rookie.
Other than the injury to Shumpert, today was a great day for New York, and Knicks fans truly have something to smile about.
About the Author
Written by Michael Burke
I'm Mike. I'm 16 and love sports. I'm a Knicks, Yankees, Colts and Notre Dame die-hard. My dream is to cover the Knicks professionally, so I hope that PSB can help me reach that goal. Follow me on twitter: @michaelburke47