Every Wednesday at Turn On The Knicks our staff will debate an issue of the week surrounding the team here in Roundtable Format. Make sure to give everybody a follow on Twitter, along with follow the site right here. Let us know if you agree/disagree.
Give your prediction for when the Knicks will finish off the Celtics, who they will play in the second round and how that series will go
Joe Caporoso - You never want to be too confident in your team but I think the Knicks roll tonight at Madison Square Garden. This series has been a mismatch, with the Celtics barely squeaking out one win when the Knicks were shorthanded and dealing with an awful Carmelo Anthony performance. It ends tonight.
The Pacers stink on the road, eh? The Hawks are going to push this to seven but ultimately fall short. However, it is beautiful for the Knicks that Indiana is getting pushed to the max in round one. Knicks/Pacers will be a PHYSICAL, ugly series at times but ultimately the Knicks have enough firepower to gut it out in six.
Chris Celletti – I’ll spell this out in more detail in my preview of Game 5 later, but I think the Knicks will end the series tonight. I also believe that Indiana is a far superior team than the Atlanta Hawks, and I’m deciding whether or not the feeling around Indiana, with the series tied at two apiece, should be either disappointment or downright shame. I’m kind of leaning towards the latter.
I feel we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves by trying to predict what’s going to happen in the second round, but I would favor the Knicks very, very slightly in a series against Indiana. A few things would scare me most about Indiana; they’re a very good defensive team, they gave the Knicks some problems during the regular season, and they generally sport a roster with legitimate NBA talent, two-deep at every position. This is something the Knicks’ current foes can’t exactly say (see Bradley, Avery). But despite being more competent at the point guard position than Boston, Indiana doesn’t have great point guard play, which is one of the things that killed the Knicks all season. I would expect these games to be close, physical, with whistles playing a large part in things. But the Knicks would again sport the best player in the series in Carmelo Anthony, and in the NBA I take my chances with that.
Chris DiGioia - Excuse me for getting ahead of myself, but I can’t help but to look forward to the Eastern Conference Finals. We all know whom the Knicks will be facing in that series. But as for the Celtics, I would be shocked if they don’t close it out tonight. The stage is set for the Knicks to win their first playoff series in 12 years at none other then the famous Madison Square Garden. Although Raymond Felton has played spectacular this far for the Knicks, the absence of JR Smith truly showed in game four. I expect Smith and the Knicks to come out tonight firing tonight, ultimately ending the Celtics season. Tonight is the type of game we will see how strong the backbone is of this Knicks squad.
After leading their series 2-0, the Indiana Pacers have dropped two straight on the road against the Atlanta Hawks. Although they have shown some vulnerability, this Pacers team is still my pick to face New York in the semi-finals. The Pacers are a hard-hitting, scrappy team led by Paul George and David West, but I feel the Knicks match-up very well with them.
It’s going to be a tough series, and it may go down to the wire. Over the last month, the Knicks have just taken their play to another level. The bottom line is, the Knicks have one of the leagues most clutch players in Carmelo Anthony, and he realizes this is his time. I don’t see the Pacers standing holding the Knicks back from what’s going to be one of the most highly anticipated playoff series in a long time, when they face the Miami Heat.
Matt Fritz - With the Sixth Man of the Year in J.R. Smith returning tonight, I have no doubt in my mind that the Knicks will take care of the Celtics in game 5 on their home floor. The Celtics are a veteran team, and giving them that overtime win in Boston, may have given them a little pep to their step, but ultimately they do not have the firepower needed to take the Knicks down.
While I would love to see the Hawks take the series against the Pacers, I just cannot see that happening. I think the Pacers still win in 6. Honestly, I would rather the Pacers win that series against the Hawks to set up an old time rivalry matchup against these Knicks. Should that happen, I see a grind it out, tough and gritty-like series that will end with the Knicks winning in 6 or 7 games.
Kevin Smith - A loss tonight will plant a little seed of doubt in my head, but I think the Knicks will take care of business on their home floor. J.R.’s presence was sorely missed in Game 4, but his return tonight should make the New York offense too much to keep pace with for the Celtics.
Every game that the Hawks win against the Pacers is gravy for the Knicks. Indiana has struggled on the road also season, and with two losses in Atlanta already, this is more of a series than most of us predicted it to be. I think it still safe to say that Paul George and company will win it, but it’s possible that the Knicks could be a little more rested for their meeting. I’ve been confident in the Knicks inevitable playoff matchup with Indiana throughout the regular season, and I’m surely not going to shy away now. New York is a deeper, more complete team than the Pacers and should be able to handle them, but that’s why they play the games.