Finally, after a year of shouldering the burden of NY's reemergence in to the limelight, the culmination of his efforts as Team Captain have materialised: Playoffs. His goal as the franchise player, captain and soul of a team clawing for recognition has been met.
None, in more than a decade, have waved the orange and blue banner with a fervor the likes of his own. He has done his part in bringing a winning record and a trip to the post-season. I, for one, could not be more thankful for his efforts nor more in awe of his desire to quench the city, the team and the fans of their thirst for success. Amar'e Stoudemire is the bringer of rain.
Our Captain, Saviour and Beacon wills us to battle!
A Playoff CV Riddled With Brilliance & Controversy
Nowhere on the floor will the intensity be as static as it will be between Amar'e and Garknee. This will be a torrent of expletives, taunting, media call outs, battles under the rim, shoot outs, foul outs, flagrant fouls, cheap shots and crisp, electric, unwavering hate. Mark my ****ing words: this one's gonna get snakey.
Since joining the Celtics, Kevin Garnett has become the NBA's poster boy for boos and jeers. He is, what I like to call, a c**t. But, you can't discount the guy for intensity. His penchant for provocation, irritation and poor sportsmanship are a concoction with a winning resumé. So often has he dug deep and willed his team to victory, that to call this matchup one that is in our favour, would be like panning for Fool's Gold.
Question: What will this bring out of Amar'e?
He himself is a wilful individual. A first round elimination as this team's leader will be like an entré of cyanide to Amar'e. He chose the limelight, he decided on NY's media scrutiny, he now, more than ever, is looking down the business end of a loaded barrel. If pressure truly does make diamonds, then we have a potential 100ct stone just below the surface, ready for exposure.
ON THE FLOOR
STAT has the athletic advantage, but not the physical. Both players are high post catch and shoot and finish well around the basket. Both can pass, block shots, run the floor and get to the line.
Are we looking at a colliding elimination here?
I think not.
We need to run some plays for Amar'e and get him to the line. He must be included in the offence to keep Boston's incredibly tight motion defence moving. Through motion, we find holes and gaps. Garnett contests jumpers well with that 7'4" wingspan and deft timing. It is beyond crucial that Amar'e gets to the FT line, and has a chance to create for others from the high post as he has all year. Fields, in particular has a chance to reap the benefits of Boston's focus on Amar'e with his size and athletic advantage over Ray Allen.
Amar'e will/should benefit from Boston's low/high block double teaming on Carmelo.
If there were ever a team in which Amar'e's defensive awareness, boxing out and rebounding were of the utmost import, it's against Boston.
Perhaps the call out of Gasol as 'soft' was a blessing for Amar'e now that he's been called out for his defensive lapses? Regardless, if he doesn't address them, he'll quickly go from saviour to scapegoat as the grip of the NY media tightens and the series moves on game to game.
In my eyes, Williams can be as pivotal a role player as any member of any playoff team if he has the mental fortitude to do so. A capable defender, shooter, rebounder and shot blocker, Williams' self-reformation meets its loftiest challenge yet: to become a playoff worthy contributor the likes of Horry, Odom, Cliff Livingston, Rambis, Ed Pinckney etc.
We will need no less than his best. To expect any less of himself will be to ultimately fail when opportunity rears its head again, this time in a form previously unbeknownst to him.
The most pivotal reserve match up for us in the series. Though the numbers may not reflect it, this matchup is well balanced. Like Williams, Jeff Green is a versatile player. He has range, can play 3 or 4 effectively, can rebound and pass and runs well. One thing he does not do well however is handle the rock. Some pressure on the ball will be necessary against Green, as he is capable of 20 point 8-10 rebound games.
He plays well off the pass in motion, but his offensive awareness leaves something to be desired. Defensively he is capable both on and off the ball, but has been criticised for lacking a physical presence in post ups and under the backboard.