By Eddie Castro
As the NBA season comes to an end, Brooklynites as well as all New Yorkers gear up for the Knicks’ run to the NBA Championship. The Knicks are currently the hottest team in the NBA winning 7 of their last 8 games. The Knicks have shown that with a valiant effort on the defensive end, they can make a strong push in the playoffs. It also appears that the trio of Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Chauncey Billups can finally coexist on both ends of the floor. The hype of Anthony in a Knick uniform has lived up as advertised. Anthony is averaging 25.6 points per game since joining New York, including two game winners, one against the Grizzlies and this past Sunday against the Pacers. Coach Mike D’Antoni hopes his team’s “swagger” continues to unveil towards the end of the season and towards the postseason. Both Anthony and Stoudemire will be heavinly relied on, so it is important to keep them both rested, but also sharp as they go in as the #6 seed in the East.
The Achilles’ heel for the Knicks has been their defense. If their defense is on point, considering their youth and talent of young players, the Knicks can surprise any powerhouse team in the Eastern Conference. However, if the Knicks lack on the defensive end, it could be a shortplayoff series for D’Antoni and company. The Knicks have to formulate their run-n-gun uptempo offense simply cause the Knicks lack size up-front. Their tallest defender is 6’9” Shelden Williams, who may come off the bench and is a natural power forward. The Knicks have drawn the #6 seed, which plays the third seed, meaning they will have their hands full with the Boston Celtics. The Celtics have owned the Knicks in recent past and have taken 3 out of 4 games from the Knicks with one more head-to-head matchup meeting on Wednesday night as we go to press. (last game of the regular season.) The Knicks have yet to solve Boston’s big three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen. It is sure both home courts will have hostile environments in the Rose Garden Arena (Boston) and Madison Square Garden (New York).
The Knicks are guaranteed their 1st winning season in 10 years. As we approach the end of the season, it appears that the Celtics are showing signs of fatigue, while the Knickerbockers are riding a train full of momentum. As we all know from years past, you should not judge a teams’ last week of the season‘s performance, for come playoff time, anything can happen. The NBA playoffs begin Saturday. We can all get a preview of the Knicks 1st-round opponent as they face the Celtics in the last game of the season. However, both teams are expected to rest their star players. This rivalry may not be as intense as the Yankees and the Red Sox, but it could have similar heroics as soon as the ball is thrown up in the air and game time has arrived. Sports Notes: NFL Football: With Day 33 of the NFL lockout, the judge orders both the NFL and the NFL Players Association to hold mediation meetings starting today in Minnesota, in hopes the two sides can come to an agreement. (Baseball) After losing 2 out of 3 to the rival Boston Red Sox, can the Yankees have a bounce back series against the up-and-coming Baltimore Orioles? (NBA Basketball) The playoff matchups in the East are set (#1 Bulls VS. #8 Pacers), (#2 Heat VS. #7 Sixers), (#3 Celtics VS.#6 Knicks), (#4 Magic VS. #5 Hawks).