Knicks-Celtics: A Rivalry Renewed
The fervor radiating from Boston has left New York fans with a sour taste in their mouths.
The Red Sox, Patriots, and Boston College football team are all experiencing tremendous success this season—much to the chagrin of many New Yorkers.
Sam Goldaper of the New York Times described the crux of the problem in a 1988 article:
"Bostonians and New Yorkers have argued over their cities' respective merits and accomplishments since before the Revolution. They have tried to outdo each other in politics, science, art and almost everything else.”
The rivalry between the Knicks and the Celtics is no exception—though many avid basketball fans have no idea where the enmity between our beloved teams began.
Some say that it was the original matchups between the poor, Walter Brown-owned Celtics and the rich, Ned Irish-owned Knicks.
Others claim it was the years of beatings the Knicks took at the hands of the Celtics during their “Golden Era,” and the revenge exacted by the Willis Reed-led Knicks of the early 70s.
Reed once said, "I only hoped I would live long enough to come to the Boston Garden and beat [the Celtics'] pants off."
The upcoming NBA season will bring more of the same competitive spirit. As the Celtics faithful dream of a dynasty behind their new Big Three, fans in NY have high expectations for their young, talented squad.
The long-standing rivalry seemed to fall by the wayside in recent years, with neither team making much noise. That changed with the two Celtics-Knicks matchups that closed out the preseason.
Of Monday night’s meeting, Howard Beck of the New York Times wrote, “The air in midtown Manhattan last night was warm and still, giving the pleasant illusion of a lazy summer night in the middle of October. Inside Madison Square Garden, it felt a little more like January, when the air has a bite and the games matter. The preseason game between the Knicks and the Boston Celtics neither looked nor sounded like an exhibition. Both teams played their stars down to the wire.”
The fact that the Knicks came out on top 94-87 made little difference—it was the passion and intensity shown by the players and coaches which leads me to believe that this new rivalry will be just as vicious as the old one.
The fire in the eyes of Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson, and David Lee during three separate altercations made it abundantly clear: New York and the Knicks will NOT be intimidated, nor will they back down.
The measures taken by Isiah Thomas and Doc Rivers, former opponents during the their playing days, suggested that each coach was trying to set the tone for the regular season—and hopefully the playoffs.
Both coaches kept their starters in as the game came down to the wire. After the game, Thomas came out of his “post-lawsuit shell” to talk to the media about the victory.
The mood here in New York is one of anticipation and optimism as the Knicks' home opener against the Timberwolves approaches. With the Allan Houston saga now over, all that's left is for the Knicks to decide upon the fate of Demetris Nichols.
Basketball season is just around the corner—and whether the Knicks do well or not, there's cause for excitement. I can always take the D, N, or Q train out to Coney Island to watch Lance Stephenson tear up the courts at Lincoln High.
Oh, you haven't heard of him yet?
Don’t you worry, you will soon enough.
Man, I love this game!
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