Monday, April 25, 2011

Series Over, Season Over

The best way to wrap up this series is that the Knicks learned a very important lesson. When a superior team opens the door for you, you have to take advantage of it. Because chances are they won’t open it again. Boston is neither as bad as they were in Games 1 and 2 nor as good as they were in games 3 and 4. No team plays to their “average” capability every game, their average is derived from a series of underperformances, middle of the road games, and overperformances. When a team like that has an underperformance – let alone two of them on their home court – you have to capitalize. If you don’t the series is probably over. Because eventually they are going to even that out with an overperformance, a game in which you will probably have no chance because of their superiority. That is exactly what happened in Games 3 and 4. And that is basically the story of this series.

The call of the series, by the way, came from TimC. He said an electric Madison Square Garden could actually help the Celtics, and he could not have been more right. At its peak, it’s the best basketball environment in the world. Nothing compares. The Boston Garden (or whatever it’s 17th name in 10 years is) doesn’t, especially after being exposed to the basketball they have the last four years. The difference in environment between Games 1 and 2 and the beginning of Game 3 night and day. And the Celtics played their best basketball of the series at the beginning of that game. It was the Knicks last real chance to get in, and the Celtics virtually put a stop to it before it started. I think it’s a combination of guys who have played a lot of big games recently and only get up in the biggest spots, having old legs rejuvenated by what was the most electric atmosphere they had played in all year, and the Celtics having the type of guys (specifically Pierce and Allen) who thrive in those kinds of environments. Good call, Timmy.

At the end of the day the Knicks just aren’t as good as the Celtics, and everyone knows that. They had a chance to make it interesting in the first two games, and let that opportunity slip away. Hopefully that is all part of a bigger learning experience that this year was. Because from here on out there are expectations, something they didn’t have this year. That’s what comes with having one of the best 1-2 cores in the game for a full season and being in the biggest basketball market in the world. Still, it was disappointing that they didn’t get a game. No matter what the circumstances, you’d like to see them get one. But without a healthy Amare and Chauncey they were supremely overmatched. It’s done with now, and they just need to get better from this point forward.

Besides, a nice silver lining would be the Celtics having to deal with losing to the Heat (if they get past the Sixers). Just as, if not more painful than losing to the Knicks in the first round given the rivalry they’ve developed with Lebron. Hopefully that happens.

I had a great basketball season as a fan. Far better than I ever could have imagined on both the college and NBA fronts. Now I'm enjoying moving over to baseball full-time.

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