New York Knicks Are Proving They're Made for Playoff Basketball
After being dismissed as an old, decrepit team earlier in the season, the Knicks are now proving Glen Grunwald right, showing everyone that they're made for playoff basketball.
Since their first round against the Boston Celtics, the Knicks have come out all guns blazing, taking a 3-0 lead into Game 4 on Sunday afternoon.
The Celtics are a team that many thought would give the Knicks problems. The general consensus was that this would be a six or seven game series, but New York is on the verge of sweeping the team that did the same to them in 2011.
New York's performance against Boston has been truly dominant. The Celtics have yet to reach the 80-point mark in a game, and the Knicks' offense has been able to perform when they need it most.
To have such dominant success against a team like the C's, the Knicks have needed playoff-veterans, and that's exactly what they have.
Jason Kidd, in particular, has led the way, His stat line may not stand out, but he's contributing in multiple categories and making plays in the clutch. Whether it's a timely steal or a smart pass, Kidd can always be relied on to make the right decision.
On top of that, Kenyon Martin—a former teammate of Kidd's with the New Jersey Nets—has been huge for the Knicks.
He saved the regular season when he arrived in late-February and has continued to provide the intensity and toughness they need in games like this.
With Tyson Chandler still recovering from his late-season injuries, K-Mart has been the heart and soul of New York's defense, making things impossible for the Celtics offense.
Kidd and Martin made a few deep runs together in New Jersey, and, playing like this, they'll have a chance to finally win that elusive championship together.
Even the backcourt of Pablo Prigioni and Raymond Felton—which has won a combined one playoff game before this year—has the experience to be successful.
They may not have had the same success in the NBA, but Prigioni won eight championships in Spain, as well as an Olympic bronze medal with Argentina in 2008. Meanwhile, Raymond Felton won the NCAA championship with North Carolina back in 2005.
Both players are fully confident running the offense and consistently make the right decisions as they manage the game.
Felton has been criticised for not being a big-time player in the past, but he's the type of guy that doesn't let anything faze him. He tunes everything out, and his penetration and general disruptiveness have been a major key for the Knicks in round one.
All of this has rubbed off on those without the same playoff experience and success. Carmelo Anthony understands what needs to be done. J.R. Smith has been kept under control (besides his elbow on Jason Terry) and role players like Iman Shumpert have had the confidence to make significant contributions.
The playoffs are all about defense, and so far the Knicks have been the stand-out team on that end of the floor. They were only slightly above-average in the regular season, but Mike Woodson was not going to let them continue to disappoint.
This is a team that has preached defense from day one, and they are finally making good on that by shutting down the Celtics. It's likely that the Knicks will take on the Indiana Pacers in the next round, and it will be a monumental struggle for Frank Vogel's team to score on them.
People doubted the Knicks, especially since this are the oldest team in league history, but their plan is coming into fruition. The Knicks have the experience to make a deep run in 2013, and if they continue to play like this, the Miami Heat better watch out.
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