Can it get any tougher for the Knicks in Round 1 of the 2011 NBA Playoffs?
To be honest, I was hoping for a chance to play Miami in the first round, so the Knicks would have a chance to make a statement by pulling off the upset against LeBron and Co. Instead, with a Heat win and a Boston loss tonight, the Knicks will play Boston in the first round.
There are a couple of notes to make. Ever since the Celtics traded away Kendrick Perkins they just have not been able to score the ball as well as they did earlier in the season.
With no real big man the Knicks do seem to match up well. It will be interesting to see who guards whom throughout the game and if the Knicks defense will hold up.
You have to imagine you put Amar'e on Garnett and Melo on Pierce. The Rondo-Billups matchup will be fun to watch, so who do you put on Ray Allen? You have to question if Landry Fields will be able to guard the perimeter without allowing Allen to get inside and hit the easy jumper.
The key to the game is guarding Ray Allen, and not letting the Celtics get on an early three-point spree.
Although the Celtics lead the season series 3-0 the Knicks had leads into the fourth quarter when playing at MSG.
The big question for the Knicks is the same they've had all season: Can they play defense against one of the top teams in the league? I think how tough the Knicks play defense in the series will come down to the leadership of Amar'e and Melo. If these two veteran players can step up and play some D hopefully it will rub off on the rest of the team. It also doesn't hurt to have NBA Finals MVP "Mr. Big Shot" Billups at your point.
This will definitely be a fun series to watch, and we all know The Garden will be rocking. I hope the Knicks can pull the upset and get the opportunity to play LeBron and the Heat in round two!
For my opinion all throughout the playoffs, follow me on Twitter! @dscarfogliero