The atmosphere inside the World’s Most Famous Arena Tuesday night was electrifying. The crowd was in the game from start to finish, and the Knicks were able to match the fans intensity. That intensity really showed itself on the defensive end. Let me just say that if the Knicks play defense the way they did in the 2nd half, they will give Miami a run for their money. This game was a tale of two halves. In the first half, the Celtics played efficiently on the offensive end and they applied solid pressure on the defensive end. The first quarter was back and forth until J.R. Smith took over. His pure athleticism coupled with his acrobatic shots put the Knicks on top heading to the 2nd quarter. Smith was able to score 5 points inside the final 7 seconds of the 1st quarter to leave the Knicks ahead by 6. His final shot at the buzzer was a step back 3-pointer from about 40 feet. The Garden erupted, and it looked like the Knicks were going to cruise to an easy victory. The Celtics, however, had other plans. The Celtics turned up their defense and started pushing the ball up the floor off of turnovers. With the pace of play being turned up a notch, this created open shots for Jason Terry. Terry finally found his range as he hit three consecutive three pointers and helped the Celtics grab a six point advantage heading into halftime. The 2nd half did not exactly go as well as the 1st for the Celtics. The 3rd quarter of Tuesday night’s game was an exact blueprint of what the Knicks need to do to win. The Knicks energy and defensive intensity was phenomenal. They forced numerous turnovers and their defensive pressure stifled the old men in green. Paul Pierce has always looked like he’s running in quicksand, but I think it’s safe to say he’s nearing the bottom of the hill. Kevin Garnett on the other hand never got anything going due to early foul trouble. This time it seemed that he was the one frustrated by his opposition (and Carmelo didn’t even have to say anything about his wife, hmm go figure). The Knicks defense was intense, it was swarming, it was physical, and best of all it sent a message to the rest of the league. The Knicks in 2 straight games have held the Celtics to 24 and 23 2nd half points; respectively. Thats insane! Now all they need to do is commit themselves completely to that hard nose style of play, and they’ll be all set. And let me branch off here for a second to spend a little time to give credit where credit is due. Kenyon Martin is the man! I love Kenyon Martin’s game (and if you don’t you need to have your head examined). My favorite part of any game is when a player drives down the middle of the lane thinking he has a free path to the basket for a dunk. Little does he know that Kenyon Martin is not just waiting, he’s salivating for such an opportunity. What comes next is the best part. Kenyon either takes the player down in a way that the player says to himself, “I better not try that again”, or he comes away with a monster block. Either way Kenyon Martin is sending this message: (which I approve) Don’t you bring that weak stuff up in here boy! (And then he screams at the crowd which is awesome!). And that right there is what you should love about Kenyon Martin and the dynamic he brings to this roster. Plus, his wry smile at the ref every time he commits a ‘foul’ is pretty amusing too. Anyway, let’s get back to the matter at hand. We know what Melo brings to the table, and we think we know what J.R. Smith brings as well. But what we don’t know is how consistently Raymond Felton can play with the aggressive nature we saw Tuesday night. Felton was by far the player of the game last night. I know I know, Melo had all those points, but without Felton’s contributions that game would have ended differently. So, if Chandler, Shumpert, and Martin bring the defense while Melo and Melo Jr. bring the offense, all we need is little Raymond Felton to penetrate the defense and either dish or attack the basket. With Felton as a viable 3rd offensive weapon the Knicks stand a serious chance in the Eastern Conference. All the Knicks need to do now is not have a let down like we’ve all grown accustom to. They can’t get comfortable with a 2 game lead (especially with those 2 wins coming at home). They need to stay focused as
they enter the hostile environment that will be the TD Garden in Boston. Even with the declining play from Boston’s stars, Boston is going to be the toughest place to play for the foreseeable future, trust me. The Knicks need to keep their defensive intensity up and win game 3. Then they’ll be in the drivers seat. You can catch game 3 of the New York Knicks vs. the Boston Celtics on Friday night @ 8:00 p.m. Tune into ESPN to catch all the action. Enjoy the rest of the series everybody.
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