NBA Playoffs 2011: Comparing the Celtics and Knicks by Position

Vishal TyagiCorrespondent IApril 15, 2011

NBA Playoffs 2011: Comparing the Celtics and Knicks by Position

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    NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 06:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics is injured against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on February 6, 2009 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using th
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    The first-round matchup between the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks is one of contrast. The two teams differ in terms of style, depth, direction, strengths and weaknesses. These differences contribute to the many reasons, from the historic rivalry to the probable return of Shaq, to watch this series.

    What I find most compelling, however, are the individual matchups. That's where you see the variables that contribute to the overall uniqueness of both teams.

    As a result, we get to enjoy an intriguing matchup at every roster spot.

    Please feel free to comment whether you agree or disagree.

Point Guard

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    MIAMI, FL - APRIL 10:  Rajon Rondo #9  of the Boston Celtics looks on during a game against the Miami Heat  at American Airlines Arena on April 10, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or us
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    2010-11 Regular Season Statistics

     

    Chauncey Billups: 32,1MPG, 16.8PPG, 2.6RPG, 5.4APG, 0.2BPG, 1.0SPG, .427FG%, .916FT%

    Rajon Rondo: 37.2MPG, 10.6PPG, 4.4RPG, 11.2APG, 0.2BPG, 2.3SPG, .475FG%, .568FT%

     

    Advantage

    Advantage to Rondo because he does things on the basketball court that no one else does and because Billups is declining. Rondo's outside and free-throw shooting are holding him a finger's length away from the best point guard in the NBA debate but Billups left that conversation a few years ago.


Shooting Guard

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    BOSTON, MA - MARCH 23:  Ray Allen #20 of the Boston Celtics and the fans react after he misses a three point shot in the fourth quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies on March 23, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  The Memphis Grizzlies defea
    Elsa/Getty Images

    2010-11 Regular Season Statistics

     

    Landry Fields: 31.0MPG, 9.7PPG, 6.4RPG, 1.9APG, 0.2BPG, 1.0SPG, .497FG%, .769FT%

    Ray Allen: 36.1MPG, 16.5PPG, 3.4RPG, 2.7APG, 0.2BPG, 1.0SPG, ,491FG%, .881FT%

     

    Advantage

    Advantage to Allen because of his experience and shooting ability. Fields is very talented, but chasing Allen around and through screen after screen is no small task. He needs to make sure that Ray Allen gets very little room from which to launch his jump shot for the Knicks to have a chance to win this series. Conversely, Allen will struggle to keep Fields off the boards but Fields does not have enough of an offensive game to make Allen sweat defensively.


Small Forward

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    NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 30:  Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks celebrates during the game against the New Jersey Nets at Madison Square Garden on March 30, 2011 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadi
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    2010-11 Regular Season Statistics

     

    Carmelo Anthony: 35.7MPG, 25.6PPG, 7.3RPG, 2.9APG, 0.6BPG, 0.9SPG, .455FG%, .838FT%

    Paul Pierce: 34.7MPG, 18.9PPG, 5.4RPG, 3.3APG, 0,6BPG, 1.0SPG, .497FG%, .860FT%

     

    Advantage

    This one is difficult. Here's the thing. Sometimes when I watch Carmelo play I'm convinced that he's a top-10 player in the NBA. Other times that I watch him play, I'm convinced that all he can or wants to do is shoot long jump shots and can be no better than the 50th best player in the world.

    Every time I watch Pierce play, though, I think that he's probably around the 20th best player on the planet.

    Which rates higher? The consistency of Pierce or the highs and lows of Melodrama? Personally, I think Melo will be motivated to show what he can do both offensively and defensively (especially if Denver plays well against OKC). Therefore, I see a small advantage for Melo.

     


     


Power Forward

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    CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 07: Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics puts his head the pad of the stanchion before a game against the Chicago Bulls at United Center on April 7, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Celtics 97-81. NOTE TO USER: User
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    2010-11 Regular Season Statistics


    Amare Stoudemire: 36.8MPG, 25.3PPG, 8.2RPG, 2.6APG, 1.9BPG, 0.9SPG, .502FG%, .792FT%

    Kevin Garnett: 31.3MPG, 14.9PPG, 8.9RPG, 2.4APG, 0.8BPG, 1.3SPG, .528FG%, .862FT%

     

    Advantage

    No advantage. One player dominates one side of the ball. The other player dominates the other. Both are well rounded otherwise. I think that this will be the best matchup of the series. Full of trash talking, yelling, stare downs and profanity.

     


Center

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    PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 28:  Shaquille O'Neal #36 of the Boston Celtics during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on January 28, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Celtics 88-71.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledg
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    2010-11 Regular Season Statistics

     

    Ronny Turiaf: 17.8MPG, 4.2PPG, 3.2RPG, 1.4APG, 1.1BPG, 0.5SPG, .632FG%, .622FT% 

    Shaquille O'Neal: 20.3MPG, 9.2PPG, 4.8APG, 0.7APG, 1.1BPG, 0.4SPG, .667FG%, .557FT%

     

    Advantage

    Advantage to O'Neal. Unless the Celtics are playing mind games, Shaq is coming back. When he does, the Knicks will be forced to start Turiaf. Unfortunately, Turiaf will foul O'Neal about once every five seconds and play around 30 seconds every game before fouling out.

     


Bench

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    NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 23: Toney Douglas #23 of the New York Knicks goes up for a basket against  the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadin
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Key Members

     

    Knicks: Anthony Carter, Toney Douglas, Jared Jeffries, Bill Walker, Shawne Williams and Shelden Williams

    Celtics: Carlos Arroyo, Glen Davis, Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic, Jermaine O'Neal and Delonte West

     

    Advantage

    The Celtics have three guys on their bench that would probably be starting for the Knicks in Davis, Green and Krstic (seriously, all three of them would be their big man opposite Amare). The Knicks have a decent bench as well, but they are seriously lacking in size. Advantage Celtics.

     

    Prediction

    The Knicks will be able to keep up at the beginning of the series but will wear down due to depth and size issues as it continues.

    Celtics in six