Remember all of those late season struggles that the Boston Celtics experienced? Of course you do not, you fickle minded fool! That was then and then was the regular season. Boston has had the same M.O. for the past couple of seasons and that is to coast all the way to the post season where the games actually matter. That is exactly what they did again.
Boston won game four against the New York Knicks after the Knicks almost completely wiped away a 23 point deficit to trail by four with roughly seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for the Knicks, the Celtics are not the Dallas Mavericks.
Now, Boston will advance to meet the winner of the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers series. As the Heat are up 3-1 in the series it is likely that they will be the ones to advance because no team in NBA history has ever come back from and 0-3 deficit to win a series.
The lingering question for the Cetics right know is the condition of Shaquille O’Neal and whether he will return to action soon. However, after the way Boston handled the frontcourt in New York, Miami’s should not prove to be that difficult as they rarely see the ball come their way on offense.
As for the Knicks? They are going fishing. This offseason promises to be one laden with questions about the future of the organization. New York has the option to pick up the final year on Chauncey Billups‘ contract which is worth approximately $14 million. Whether or not they want to spend that money on an aging veteran who provided little for them this season has yet to be seen. Billups is just the marquee name on the list of players that may find new homes next season. Anthony Carter, Roger Mason Jr., Kelenna Azubuike, Shawne Williams, Derrick Brown, Ronny Turiaf, Jared Jeffries, and Shelden Williams are all free agents this summer. That leaves a very sparse lineup in New York.
Another big question that is looming is whether General Manager Donnie Walsh will remain with the team. There have been rumors that if Walsh were to leave the organization Bryan Colangelo might step in to fill his vacancy as he is likely on his way out as general manager in Toronto. Also, who really knows if Mike D’Antoni’s job is safe after speculation that Anthony does not fit well into his system and after the Celtics manhandled the Knicks, who did not show much effort on the defensive end of the floor, in the playoff.
One thing is certain, if the Knicks are smart, they will build around Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire for the long term. If they do not pick up the option on Billups their top priority should be a point guard. They had a good one in Raymond Felton before he became one of the many pieces in the deal to bring Anthony to New York.
Oh, and we all know that somehow Isiah Thomas is going to be brought up more than once this summer. Consider yourselves warned, Knicks fans. It is going to happen.
Image via Swag Diaries