In baseball there is an old adage: “Good pitching beats good hitting.” That has been proven true time and again, especially in a seven game playoff series. Now the New York Knicks should go into their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Boston Celtics with this in mind: a good defense will beat a good offense. That is why the Knicks have to change their ways on the court; otherwise, the Celtics are going to win this series.
Make no mistake, coach Mike D’Antoni’s team is much better than Knicks teams of the last few years. One can look to Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony as obvious reasons for that, and they have strengthened the play of Chauncey Billups and company with their presence. Still, the obvious thing one can gather since Anthony came to the Knicks is that this is an offense minded team. The problem is they are facing Kevin Garnett and the Celtics, and that solid defense is going to pose problems for them without a doubt.
The Knicks have to change their mindset starting tomorrow in that first game in Boston. With Ama’re going head-to-head with Garnett, we will see a very physical match-up, and the Knicks are not at a disadvantage as they would have been a year ago. D’Antoni has got to get his players ready for a physical game – lots of contact and plenty of defending.
The Knicks have scored more points per game than the Celtics (106.5 – 96.5), and there is no disputing that superior offense, but they have also allowed more points (105.7 – 91.1) and the Celtics were number one in the league in that category. That superior defense is obviously capable of shutting down the Knicks machine. If the Apostrophe Duo – Amar’e and ‘Melo – are held in check, this series will be quickly over.
Even before this series starts, we Knicks fans have to be thankful for being here. This season the games always seemed to matter (even before the Anthony trade), and that kept me watching and hopeful. Since that trade there has been a feeling of euphoria and pride as the team returned to the playoffs, but we also have to note that our bench is much weaker because of that trade, and the defense is a big question mark in this series.
Still, we are there and D’Antoni’s team should know what it has to do. A good defense does shut down a good offense. Now it is up to the Knicks to change their attack plan; otherwise, they will be watching the finals at home.
Photo credits: NBA.com