Well don’t those New York Knicks have a flair for the dramatic?
Now they have all the drama they can handle.
Before Wednesday night’s Eastern Conference Quarterfinals game with the Boston Celtics, Knicks’ reserve forward Kenyon Martin advised all of his teammates to dress for in black for the “Celtics’ funeral”, meaning that the confident Knicks felt that they would win tonight’s game five and get some rest in preparation for the Conference semi-finals…
…this after free swinger J.R. Smith stated that had he not been suspended for Sunday’s game 4 loss to Boston, the Knicks would have swept the series already.
“I’d have been playing golf today.” Smith quipped after Tuesday’s practice.
Dude thinks he’s Tiger Woods.
His point was, without Smith in the game, Celtics’ reserve guard Jason Terry went nuts in overtime, scoring nine points in leading the Celtics to a 97-90 series extending win. He feels that his presence would have prevented that from happening.
“It was very tough to watch,” Smith said, essentially throwing his teammates under the bus, “Especially that first half. I mean, from the turnovers to missing shots. … It wasn’t the easiest thing ever. I wasn’t pleased with it. My teammates wasn’t either. I’ll get the chance to make up for it tomorrow.”
Well, he’s not going to be very pleased again – and this time he was part of the problem – as he and his New York teammates fell flat and missed yet another opportunity to eliminate the suddenly scrappy Celtics, losing to Boston 92-86, allowing the overmatched Celtics to climb back into the series, trailing 3 games to 2 heading back to TD Garden for an improbable Game 6.
Talk about your all-time backfires.
Smith scored just 14 points off the bench on a pedestrian 3-14 shooting night as his counterpart, Terry – the recipient of Smith’s elbow in game three that got him suspended for game four – abused Smith, hitting five of eight from the parking lot and scoring 17 points as the Celtics rode balanced scoring to the decisive win.
Jeff Green led the attack with 18 points, while Brandon Bass joined Terry with 17. Both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett scored 16, with Garnett pulling down a ridiculous 18 rebounds as the Celtics won the board battle for the first time in the series.
Carmello Anthony led all scorers with 22 points on 24 shots, joining Smith for a poor shooting night. Raymond Felton chipped in 21 but it wasn’t enough as the Celtics force a Game 6 in Boston with a chance to even the series after being down 3-0.
In all three of those games, the Knicks held the Celtics to 75 points per game – but in games 4 and 5, Boston has averaged 92, staying strong in the second halves. When asked what the differences were between the Celtics then and now, Bass said simply, “We just wanted to keep in going.”
And going it is, and the Celtics suddenly have a little momentum and are headed home – not to pack for the summer, but to get ready for a pivotal game 6 at TD Garden on Friday night.
If the increasingly nervous Knicks can’t come into Boston and close down the series, Game seven is scheduled for Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
“I think we’re fine,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “Sure we would’ve loved to close it out and move on, but nobody said it would be easy.”
Nobody said it would be easy, but J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin – who scored a paltry 2 points in Game 5 – implied it was inevitable and now have a fired up Celtics’ squad breathing down their necks.
Boston is a proud city, in case the Knicks missed it…and to offer up such bulletin board material is viewed as akin to kicking the Celtics when they’re down, and the world has seen what spirit this city and their sports teams have when they’ve been dealt a blow…
…to purposely taunt them is to motivate them, and now the Knicks have Celtics’ pride to deal with. If they’d only keep their mouths shut – but from what we’ve seen out of the Knicks this season, talking trash is one thing that they do well consistently.