For the second straight year it appears that the Boston Celtics just may be peaking at exactly the right time; when the games really count as the Association is now in the midst of the NBA Playoffs. Although the “Green Team” looked lethargic during the final weeks of the regular season they took their game to another level as they swept the New York Knicks putting the final nail in their opponents coffin on Sunday by a final score of 101-89. Boston now is the first team this season to advance to the Conference Semi-Finals and will have some time off to help heal any dinged up bodies on the roster. However something that “Celtics Nation” may be truly excited about was how their team improved as the first round series progressed.
Although the Knicks played the Celtics tough in the first two games of the series, Boston would dominate the final two games. Part of that was caused by iunjuries to the New York roster. The team would be without veteran point guard Chauncey Billups after the first game and Amar’e Stoudemire played most of the series with a sore back. The Knicks would still have a very dangerous weapon in forward Carmelo Anthony who did have two very strong games against Boston.
Now the Celtics did take advantage of a weakened opponent but they also played with far greater intensity in the last two games which would lead to the lopsided victories. Boston would play strong defense from the start of game one but it was their offensive prowess that got them the easy victories in games three and four.
Paul Pierce and Ray Allen exploited the outside game as the Celtics trampled over New York in game three while Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo would each rack up a double-double in the final contest. Another key player has been Jermaine O’Neal who gives Boston a legitimate presence at the pivot position which will become a bigger factor the further the Celtics advance in the Post Season.
This veteran NBA observer predicted last summer that the Boston Celtics would once again represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals this June. After watching the Celtics sweep the New York Knicks in round one of the NBA Playoffs my prediction appears to be on solid ground.