The New York Knicks are in the midst of their first playoff series since 2004, however it is about to come to an end. The Boston Celtics lead the series 3-0 and will attempt to close it out Sunday in New York.
Madison Square Garden houses a number of celebrity fans. The stars don’t flock out with as much frequency as they do in Los Angeles, but there are typically a number of famous faces in the crowd. Among those faces is Knicks super-fan Spike Lee.
Lee bleeds Orange and Blue. He has been sitting courtside for years. Lee gets into it with opposing players. He is famous for his run-ins with Reggie Miller. Not only does he support the team at home, but when New York is relevant and in the playoffs Lee travels with the team to watch the Knicks play.
However, outside of being one of the biggest Knicks fans on the planet, he is also a filmmaker. In 1998 Lee wrote and directed the film He Got Game. The movie focused on the top-ranked basketball prospect in the country, Jesus Shuttlesworth, played by now-Boston Celtic, Ray Allen.
It seems only fitting that Lee’s Knicks would be taken down by Allen, aka Shuttlesworth.
New York has two stars on their roster in Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, however the team isn’t ready to compete for a championship yet. The bench is thin and the team was gutted to acquire those two All-Stars.
The Boston Celtics, on the other hand, are in the middle of quite possibly their last championship run, with the team as it’s currently constructed. The core is aging and it’s unclear how long the Celtics will stay atop the Eastern Conference.
Last season Danny Ainge almost broke up the team. There were rumors that Allen was headed out of town. However, Ainge resisted the urge and the Celtics made it to the Finals for the second time in three seasons.
Once again Boston is poised to make a deep run in the playoffs. Before they can do that the team must eliminate the Knicks, an outcome which seems inevitable at this point in time.
The Celtics are one win away from a second-round match up with the Miami Heat. One player who deserves a lot of the credit is Ray Allen.
Allen is averaging 24.7 points per game in the series. He is perfect from the charity stripe and shooting a blistering 75 percent from behind the three point arc.
Allen put on a clinic in Game 3 against the Knicks. He scored 32 points, almost effortlessly, and went 8-11 from long range.
Ray Allen will turn 36 years old in July and is playing in his 15th season in the NBA. However, he is still playing at a high level. His conditioning is among the best in the league and he is the greatest long range shooter in league history.*
The Celtics and Allen came to a two-year, $20 million contract extension this past summer. He is signed through next season. And as long as he is willing to take a pay cut when that contract expires he should be able to remain in green until he retires.
Allen has made it known he wants to finish his career in Boston and I see no reason to believe that won’t happen. He is likely a first-ballot Hall of Fame player and looking to win his second NBA Championship. However, before he can do that Ray must finish lighting up the Knicks.
For some reason those guarding Allen in the series keep forgetting they can’t leave him open. Defenders are forced to chase Allen off multiple screens all game long. The Knicks guards need to fight through those screens, because if Allen gets a hint of daylight it is lights out.
I have no doubt that when Spike Lee goes home tonight and goes to sleep, he will have nightmares of Jesus Shuttlesworth carving up his beloved Knicks.
Unfortunately for Lee he will have to wait at least another season before New York can make a run for the title. The team as it stands today is not ready to compete for its first championship in almost 40 years.
* Ray Allen passed Reggie Miller on February 10, 2011 to become the NBA’s All Time leader in three point field goals made.