Yes, they did play basketball in Boston last night. Surprising only if you followed the pregame news from most media outlets. They all seemed more concerned with the subsequent showdown, rematch if you will, between Carmelo Anthony and Keven Garnett, then the actual game. So much so they continued shoving it at us throughout the broadcast.
TNT’s play by play man Marv Albert pathetically whined, on and on, about the lack of crowd hostility. Albert continually voiced his bewildered, somewhat disappointed opinion, that Carmelo Anthony was only booed. I mean really Marv, were you and TNT hoping for physical confrontations in the stands and on the court? Pathetic!
What Albert, and TNT, failed to report was that TD Garden Security did a great job in keeping the fans focused on the game. Something the TNT broadcast either couldn’t, or was unwilling to do. According to Peter May of the NY Times, Security confiscated potentially disruptive signs and would not allow fans to display or wear anti Carmelo Anthony t-shirts which they purchased outside the arena.
One thing anything but Marvelous did mention, was how the Boston Celtics pipe in crowd noise to amplify the noise of the actual fans. Actually, mention would be an understatement. Less then Marvelous chose to go on a ten minute rant about it. All while a game was being played.
JR was having a terrible shooting night, going 2 for 15 prior to making a huge 3 pointer with 1:11 left in the game. On the Celtics ensuing possession Smith teamed up with Iman Shumpert to force Paul Pierce into a crucial turnover. With 7.1 seconds left, and the Knicks up by 3, JR’s tight defense caused Paul Pierce (there will be no kiss blowing to the fans tonight) to dribble the ball out of bounds.
The NY Knicks solid team defense not only held the Celtics under 90 points, but also held Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to 6 points combined in the second half.
Good news on the injury front. ESPN New York’s Ian Begley reported Raymond Felton was cleared for full contact in today’s practice. Depending on how well that goes, he could be back in the lineup as early as tomorrow in Philadelphia for Knicks vs Sixers.
Felton’s return would provide a much needed boost to the Knicks. With his speed and quickness he immediately improves the team’s on the ball defense. His ability to breakdown an opposing team’s defense will facilitate ball movement and open the floor for his teammates.
Mike Woodson will be able to cut back on Jason Kidd’s minutes, leaving him fresh and more effective. Woodson will also have less pressure to push Iman Shumpert’s minutes, allowing him to continue his return from injury at a more moderate pace.
It also gives Woodson more lineup flexibility. With Shumpert’s ability to breakdown defense’s he may be more suited to come off the bench. It would improve floor spacing while playing with the second unit’s Amar’e Stoudemire, JR Smith, Steve Novak, and Pablo Prigioni.
Finally, congratulations to Tyson Chandler for being selected to his first All Star Game. It is well deserved. I’m not a big fan of All Star Games but it must be a nice feeling to be recognized by your peers with that kind of honor.