The last handful of days have been trying times for fans of the New York Knicks. About every fan, regardless of passion level and fan-hood, was able to write off the Game 4 loss in Boston as nothing more than a down game, a game without the impact of J.R. Smith coming off the bench, a veteran team not wanting to be eliminated on their home court, and a game in which Jason Terry got hot in overtime that could’ve been a fluke.
However, the attitudes have changed since Game 4. All because of what everyone saw during Game 5. The worst news is, Knicks fans should be terrified of what’s ahead.
Almost everyday, two of my buddies from home and I exchange sport-related texts in a message group on our phones. When the Knicks jumped out to an impressive 9-0 lead minutes into Game 5, the following was exchanged:
“Tough 9-0 run to start the game lol.”
“Shouldn’t even be playing this game!”
You get where our collective heads were out. Of course, we all know what happened from there. As much as Knicks fans want to bemoan that the refs called a terrible game, the fact of the matter is the Knicks couldn’t hit anything from the field and got very lazy on defense when calls didn’t go their way. The refs didn’t cost the Knicks that game, their shooting did.
As everything started to develop throughout Game 5 and the clearer the result became, a disturbing black cloud started to form over my head. Maybe it’s the Mets fan inside of me that immediately turns to doom and gloom in situations like these, but it’s beginning to feel more and more apparent that there’s just no way for the Knicks to win this series anymore.
Let’s think about this a little longer.
It’s been a talking point this entire series, even when the Celtics were getting pummeled each and every third quarter they played in the first three games. Nobody on this Boston team is talking about next year or about what may happen to the core after these playoffs. They’re only focus is on the task at hand, regardless of circumstance. At the same time, how many times have we heard Carmelo Anthony sports the worst career playoff win-percentage of active players? Yeah, sure, we can try to brush that off as something that happened on Nuggets teams that weren’t equipped to compete in the star-studded West. That doesn’t make the statistic any less true, though.
It is without question the Knicks have lost any and all momentum they had gained through the series’ first three games. This is a wounded team – at least mentally – heading back to Boston with their tails between their legs. This is also a Boston team that will refuse to lose Game 6 on their home court. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and now Jason Terry are too proud to let a pompous, cocky team walk onto their floor and boss them around for 48 minutes. I’d say the chance the Knicks take Game 6 is probably around the 15% marker.
And if the Knicks do, indeed, drop Game 6, there’s almost no chance they win Game 7. Not against this Celtics team.
I think Steve Kerr had the line of the night during the Game 5 broadcast on TNT, talking about the time the Red Sox came back from down 3-0 to beat the Yankees in 2004.
“If you’re the Knicks, you have to win Game 5. Because the Celtics are going to have Schilling ready for Game 6, and Pedro ready for Game 7. Like Kevin Millar said, ‘don’t let us throw those guys.’”