The New York Knicks, in their heart of hearts, do not believe they can beat the Boston Celtics. Once again, the Knicks hd a lead late in the fourth quarter, and couldn’t hold on, losing 96-93 to the Celtics in Game 2, putting their season on the brink. Carmelo Anthony put on one of the great postseason performances in Knicks history, scoring 42 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. He had to be that good; Chauncey Billups did not play, and Amare Stoudemire left the game in the first half with back spasms.
The Knicks took a late 93-92 lead on Jared Jeffries’, yes you read that correctly, layup. But on the ensuing possession, Jeffries had to guard Kevin Garnett, who backed him down and made a jump hook with 13 seconds left. With the game on the line, Anthony was double-teamed and fed Jeffries, who tried to lay the ball off to Bill Walker under the hook. Garnett stole the pass and called timeout, but the Knicks were still alive. The next play is the one that Mike D’Antoni has to explain. With four seconds left, the Celtics inbounded the ball to Delonte West in the backcourt, and Anthony seemed unaware that he had to foul West immediately. West was finally fouled with 0.6 seconds left, and he hit his two free throws to seal the win.
It was another excruciating loss for the Knicks, who now have to win four out of five games to advance. Simply put, the Knicks need to beat the Celtics comfortably, because the late-game futility has to be in their heads at this point. The Knicks will return home for Game 3, where a raucous Madison Square Garden crowd will be awaiting them. It’s a must-win, but honestly, it’s tough to see the Knicks coming back from these two incredibly rough losses.
On a personal note, I would be incredibly shocked if the Celtics made any kind of serious run in this postseason. Unless they are simply going through the motions, this team looks old and slow. For three quarters, the Knicks had Anthony and the likes of Toney Douglas, Jeffries, Walker, Roger Mason, Ronny Turiaf and Shawne Williams in the game, with Stoudemire and Billups out. Sans Anthony, that team would struggle to win 10 games in an entire NBA season.
My early prediction, and I thought this would be the case regardless of what the series score was coming back, is that the Knicks will win Game 3. They’ll be fired up, the Garden will be rocking, and they will have the benefit of the whistle. Plenty of time until then, though. The Knicks should be proud of their valiant effort. Anthony put the team on his back, and if they had just a little more talent out there, this series would be all even. For now, the Knicks are again heartbroken.