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Knicks Celtics first round preview – four elements

April 17, 2011 7 comments

Although Celtics doesn’t have a lineup of unity and stability as last year’s, their performance on the defensive end this season remains impressive: they were rated the best in lowering opponents’ scores, second in defensive efficiency. Celtics Big 4 remains the most important factor of which – Paul Pierce had a career high in most efficient performance in his thirteenth season.

the Big 4

Two different stages for the Knicks need to be taken into consideration: before Carmelo Anthony arrives and after. But even when the team finally got Anthony and Chauncey Billups, they are still not very stable. Before trading, the team’s record was 28 wins, 26 losses, their winning percentage after the transaction was half and half as the final record of 42 wins 40 losses. New York is the third fastest team in the league, only one team made a few more three-point shot and hit than the Knicks, the Magic. There were not only more than 5 winning streak, but also more than 5 losing streak, instability will be their largest constraints in the 7 game series against the Celtics.

Celtics swept Knicks in the regular season, following are the five elements that lead the direction of this 7 game series.

1. The recovery of Raja Raondo.

The defense strength of the Celtics is not going to decrease in the playoffs, if not stronger. But their performance on the offensive end is dependent on the state of Raja Rondo. Rondo’s performance in the early season marked him the best point guard in the league, but after the All-Star break, Raja Rondo had a long downturn time – his assists were three times less than before the All-Star break, FG dropped from 50.2% to 43.3%. In the games when the Celtics won, Rondo had an average of 12.4 assists and 51.1% FG, in Celtics’ loses, Rondo averaged 8.5 assists and 40.5% FG.

Although Celtics can’t blame all their loses to Rondo, the other Big 3 didn’t contribute much as expected, which results a downturn for Rondo. Generally speaking, Raja Rondo is not the type of player who can run the whole team.

If Rondo can quickly retrieve his best condition, Celtics is looking for a great enhance on offensive side

2. Big Apple Team – style.

One of the biggest problems for the Knicks this season is to set a tone for the team’s style. Knicks’ style used to be a group of shooters on the outside, with a strong insider. Although Anthony and Billups got great talent, they didn’t involve themselves into this style immediately. To challenge one of the best defensive teams in the league, Knicks need to unify their game style as soon as possible

3. Fatigue

The Celtics has been putting their bet on hoping for a team break out. But they don’t have Kendrick Perkins this year – Kendrick contributed to the team a lot with his tenacity and strong defensive attitude.

Moreover,. Coach Doc Rivers didn’t have the Big 3 rest a lot at the end of the regular season, so the Knicks have the opportunity to use off Celtics’ fatigue.
4. Anthony, weakness in the playoffs

nba_melo_knicks_576.jpg (576×324)

Except reaching the Western Conference finals in 2009, Anthony and the Denver Nuggets only made a first round trip every single year. We can’t blame Anthony himself on all these failures, but at least as the biggest star of the team, he has responsibilities to the team. The key problem was that Anthony never really fit in the team’s general style.

But this does not mean that Anthony and the Knicks can’t find a common ground and overcome the Celtics in the first round at all. The Celtics’ defense focuses on cutting off passing lanes to destroy opponents’ offensive line, but Knicks has the league’s most powerful offensive group of two. Moreover, Celtics is good at breaking the opponent’s entire team offensive system instead one single player – however, Anthony is indeed the kind of player who can carry the team on his shoulders on the offensive end.

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