After two games in New York and one in Boston the Celtics have been forced to wake up and smell the coffee. The reigning Atlantic Division Champs for 5 years running are being forced to acknowledge their age. Kevin Garnett is suddenly looking every bit of a 37 year old man trying to keep up with younger legs. Paul Pierce, the baby faced assassin can no longer answer the bell the way he used to . Ray Allen, in an attempt to escape Father Time has defected to the Miami LeBron’s and without Rondo to wreak havoc on the defense, this team suddenly looks very, very old. Before we get carried away I think we should acknowledge that the Knicks aren’t exactly spring chickens. Technically, they are older than the Celtics, but the difference is that their key players are young. Carmelo, Smith, Chandler and Felton are all in their prime. So players like Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin and Prigioni are only being asked to contribute as opposed to shouldering the burden. Even an old fart can navigate, but it takes a young buck to man the oars.
Boston might win game four, but for all intents and purposes this series is over. It is the way they are losing that has taken many by surprise. In game one the Celtics were cruising until the second half. It was as if the Knicks flipped a switch and simply turned off the Boston offense. The Celtics only scored 17 in the third quarter, but what was truly shocking was their point total in the fourth…………..8. That made only 25 for the entire second half. Now I had been listening to the so called experts explain how dangerous Boston was. Even ex-players like Magic and Barkley told us how the Celtics had all this playoff experience and the heart of a champion, so I was convinced that game one was simply an aberration. But when all was said and done, game 2 was a mirror image of game 1 except this time they scored two fewer points in the second half for a grand total of 23!
After these two convincing beatings the Knick players said that they hadn’t really done anything but hold their home court advantage. This is when you could see their confidence because they weren’t even impressed with themselves. But things had to change now because this series was going back to the Boston Garden. The home of the famed parquet floor, countless banners confirming a rich winning tradition and the Boston fans. Doc Rivers would circle the wagons, make some key adjustments and all that veteran savvy would rise to the top, right? Wrong. Dead wrong!
The Knicks went into Boston and cleared up any confusion we might have had about this series. They explained why they were the Atlantic Division Champions. They made it painfully clear that this was simply a case of the Eastern Conference’s 2nd seed beating the pants off the 7th seed, just the way they’re supposed to. I believe this series signals the end of an era for one team and the beginning of an era for the other. New York’s ability to concentrate well enough to overcome all obstacles and finally slay the dragon that has terrorized them shows that they are serious contenders for the conference title. The only remaining question is, “can they beat the Heat?” Hang around a little while and you just might get the chance to find out.