The 3-6 matchup out east is the most intriguing playoff series of the bunch featuring the classic New York-Boston rivalry. That’s right, the Boston Celtics are taking on the New York Knicks in what should be an interesting and entertaining series of games. The winner will most likely take on the Miami Heat in the second round in what would be an equally entertaining and interesting series. The Celtics feature the old school Big Three with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, while the New York Knicks have a big three of their own via a midseason trade with Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups.
3. BOSTON CELTICS VS. 6. NEW YORK KNICKS
Celtics–>Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Nenad Krstic
Knicks–>Chauncey Billups, Landry Fields, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Ronny Turiaf
The Edge: Two very good starting lineups here, but I gotta give the edge to the Celtics for one reason, Rajon Rondo. This kid is the difference because of his ability to be a floor general and play the point guard position the way it is taught. A lot of this is to be determined due to injuries as the Celtics hope to use Shaq as much as possible. Also, Knicks Coach Mike D’Antoni has told the press that he plans to use Jared Jefferies, Shelden Williams and Ronny Turiaf to combat the post presence that the Celtics chose to throw down there.
Celtics–>Glen Davis, Jeff Green, Shaq, Jermaine O’Neal
Knicks–>Bill Walker, Toney Douglas, Shawne Williams, Sheldon Williams
The Edge: Celtics. Boston lacks depth at the guard position and lost a lot of inside defensive presence with the Kendrick Perkins trade, but still manage to beat out the Knicks with bench depth. Big Baby Davis and Jeff Green will play a lot of minutes and I expect Green to prove his worth to the Celtics team by using his length to bother Melo and create mismatches. On the other side, Douglas is a spark off the bench and a great perimeter shooter. He will spot Billups and might even play some two guard if needed in the series.
Paul Pierce vs. Carmelo Anthony
The Edge: Paul Pierce… The Knicks traded for Melo for this exact reason. They need him to win games on the big stage and I think he can do it. The big question is whether he can do it for the entire series. On the other side of the court stands veteran leader, Paul Pierce. Pierce, a 6’6 SF born in Oakland, has averaged 22 ppg in his playoff career and loves the pressure situations as much as Kobe does. I give him the edge in this because I truly believe he can win games in the waning seconds even with Melo in his grill.
Boston Celtics in 7. This series will come down to the wire in game seven. The Boston-New York NBA rivalry will be revamped and Boston Garden and Madison Square Garden will be buzzing with excitement for all seven games. I am excited to see these games come down to the wire and see who will step up in crunch time. No matter who wins, I like the winner taking down the Heat in seven games in the second round.