After jumping out to a 3-0 lead, I was already looking ahead to the 2nd round – so much so that I was chastised multiple times by fellow Knicks fans when referring to our 2nd round match up like we had already advanced. “It’s not over yet,” they would say even though we had a comfortable 3-0 lead against a banged up, undermanned and AARP approaching Celtics team.
After being unable to close it out in Boston, it’s back to New York for Game 5 but I still wasn’t worried. It’s hard to sweep a series so surely the Knicks will advance at home. Last night, we jump out an 11-0 lead – we set the tone early and it looked like we were definitely going to close out the series. However, Boston hung around and the Knicks played poorly down the stretch. Next thing you know it’s 3-2 and were going back to Boston for a Game 6.
Now it’s panic time, at least according to ESPN. I’m not panicking just yet but I’m definitely a lot more nervous than I was a few days ago. There’s just too many parallels between the Yankees/Red Sox ALCS in ’04. If the Celtics somehow channel the energies of Pedro, Schilling, Damon and Dave Roberts to become the first NBA team to overcome a 3-0 deficit (against New York again), does that make up for their years and years of sports futility? Will we ever have a comeback for any Boston just saying “2004 Red Sox and 2013 Celtics?”
The Knicks aren’t doing anything to help themselves out either. J.R. Smith essentially guaranteeing victory and riling the Celtics up was a mistake. Then him going 0-for his first 10 threes in Game 5 was even worse. With all the great NY game gauranteeing tradition (Nameth, Messier), you can’t just lay an egg after saying you would have closed out the series if you weren’t suspended for Game 4. I love J.R. and he has been an essential part of the team’s success but keep it hush hush right now, at least until we get to the 2nd round.
How about the Knicks wearing all black to the Garden for Game 5 to signify a funeral for Boston’s season? Big mistake and now a major point of contention in the media, thus firing up Boston even more. I can easily see the Celtics taking Game 6 and forcing a Game 7 at the Garden. That will be the biggest basketball game played at the Worlds Most Famous Arena in over a decade.
A potential Game 7 will be as fun as it gets but I’m confident that the Knicks will take it. I don’t see them losing 4 games in a row to a Celtics team that played just 7 guys last night – three of which are over the age of 35. Aside from all of that though, my biggest boost of confidence came when I read Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy’s column today. The headline reads “Knicks are choking against Celtics.” Didn’t even need to read any more of the article to know that the Knicks are now in fine shape.
Boston fans know whatever Shank says, the exact opposite usually happens immediately after. Look at Game 162 of the 2011 season. The Red Sox needed to win to guarantee at least a one-game playoff the next day. If Boston won that the Rays lost, Boston was in the playoffs. The Sox led the O’s 3-2 during a rain delay. Here’s what Shaughnessy said when asked if he thought the Rays (trailing 7-0 to the Yankees at the time) would rally?
Uh Oh. The Rays came back and the Red Sox lost to the Orioles on a walk-off. Rays made the playoffs and the Red Sox were out – thanks to the Shaughnessy jinx. If history has taught us anything, it’s that Shank saying the Knicks are choking means they will come and run the Celtics off the floor in Game 6. So at least we’ve got that going for us.