Good evening! This is weird. The Knicks have a playoff game in less than two hours, yet I'm not sweating and trembling in frightful anticipation. They took care of their home games, and now, if they lose this one, I will merely cry instead of cry AND vomit.
But for real, the pressure is on the Celtics now, if it wasn't already. The Knicks could do themselves a whole mess o' good by winning this game-- a loss, and all of a sudden Game 4 feels crucial-- but the Celtics absolutely must have it. They're finally back in their building, where they're much, much better this season than they were on the road, and they'll have the added emotional potency of this being the first game in Boston since the tragedies that took place the week of April 15. (There will be a ceremony before tip-off, just like there was before Game 1 in New York).
Of course the cheers and whistles were going to skew green this weekend even without the addition of real-life feelings. If the Knicks can overcome their environment and steal a win, they should be pretty much set for the series. In all likelihood, that'll mean not farting around for two whole quarters. The sets, the ball movement, the shooting, the defensive schemes and execution will all have to be there from tip-off this time around. At least I assume so. Maybe the Celtics will be kind and play like they did in the previous two second halves for the whole game tonight. The Knicks won both their games in Boston during the regular season, for whatever that's worth.
A few pre-game things:
- A few of you already noticed this, but Mike Woodson casually mentioned today that Tyson Chandler lost weight during his neck recovery because he also fell ill during that absence. Looking back at Game 1 of the Heat series, (Don't do it yourself. I'm looking back for you.) Chandler's performance in this Game 1 now makes a lot more sense. He made some progress in Game 2, though, so hopefully we'll see something even closer to the real Tyson in Game 3.
- The Knicks all went to see Pain and Gain last night. This is important.
- John Schuhmann on how the Celtics have been much better at home than on the road, but almost entirely on the defense end...and they've already been defending the Knicks pretty well, so....
Otherwise, everything's the same but the venue. The Knicks will start the same five tonight and the Celtics-- though Kevin Garnett did suffer a hip injury in the last game-- will as well.
Tip-off tonight is at 8. The game will be broadcast on both ESPN and MSG. Comment along here if you're watching and check out Celtics Blog as well (and please be civil and respectful in both places and just everywhere because that's a good way to be). Please don't post large photos, .gifs, or links to illegal streams in the thread. Some of the slowness we've seen in recent threads should-- they tell me-- be fixed tonight, but if things get slow for y'all, I'll post a new one for the second half.
Go the Knicks!
UPDATE: Oh, and it's Friday Night Knicks. If the Knicks can win in Boston AND while being haunted by Robert Randolph, they're golden.
UPDATE AGAIN: I lied. Apparently Avery Bradley isn't feeling well and might not start.