You’ve probably heard plenty of perspective from the New York Knicks side of things recently. A lot of Knicks fans are supremely confident, while there are a slight few who are a bit nervous. We have a mix of it here ourselves.
But what do Boston Celtics’ observers feel? We were lucky enough to grab a few answers from Chuck at Celtics site RedsArmy.com to get a glimpse of the upcoming first round between the longtime rivals from the other side of things. Thanks go out to Chuck, and do be sure to check out their excellent content and follow Chuck on Twitter as well.
Turn On The Knicks: What matchup are you most looking forward to?
Chuck: Paul Pierce vs Spike Lee. Just kidding. But seriously, Pierce has a knack for slaying the Knicks in big moments. There’s something about MSG and the Knicks uniform that brings out the best in the Truth.
TOK: How do you think the Celtics will try and stop Carmelo Anthony? Can they?
C: Yes, the Celtics can defend Melo. Just look at the stats. He shot 35% in four games vs Boston this season, ten percent lower than his season average. Paul Pierce and Jeff Green will get the bulk of the defensive assignments vs Anthony. Doc Rivers may also throw Brandon Bass in the mix.
TOK: Knicks fans are worried about Paul Pierce, but is there anyone else they should be worried about?
C: Have you heard of a man named Kevin Garnett? He’s rested and ready for battle. Not only is the Celtics defense remarkably better with him on the floor, but his mid-range shooting forces Tyson Chandler away from the basket. As Carmelo Anthony and Knicks fans know, KG is also the games’ greatest trash talker, fully capable of getting inside Melo’s head.
TOK: Conversely, what Knick other than Carmelo Anthony do you think might give the Celtics some trouble?
C: I’m concerned with JR Smith. While he shot poorly against the Celtics this season (39%), he still lit them up for 20 ppg and 7 rpg. The Celtics second unit (Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Chris Wilcox) has been woefully inconsistent this season. They’ll need to bear down on Smith defensively and counter his explosiveness with some points of their own.
TOK: The Celtics will win the series if…
C: They can defend the perimeter. The Knicks are one of the best three-point shooting teams in the league and it’s that trigger happy mentality that helps them score points in bunches. The Celtics rank 4th in opponents 3P FG%. Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee need to lock down the perimeter and the Celtics defensive rotations must be crisp to limit New York.
TOK: Who wins the series? In how many games?
C: I’m expecting a tightly contested 7 game series. I was leaning with the Knicks. I figured the Celtics were too inconsistent to beat a team as good as New York four out of seven times. But the horrific events of the past week have changed my mind. I think the Celtics – led by master motivators Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett – can ride the tidal wave of emotion in the city of Boston – and use it to their advantage.