|Iman Shumpert, following a three pointer in game 6|
The Knicks made it! They beat Boston on their home court and avoided a frustrating and unnecessary game 7 at Madison Square Garden. What appeared to look like a sweep, after counting three straight wins in the series, turned out pretty bad for New York as Boston fought back and stole a win at home in over time.
Without JR Smith, suspended after elbowing Jason Terry in game 3, the Knicks struggled just to stay in game and managed to push it into overtime but Jason Terry’s amazing performance inspired the Celtics in avoiding the sweep, and slap New York one more time, at MSG.
Game 5 of the series was a terrible one, despite Smith returning on the floor, follow the suspension. An awful performance going 0-10 from the field until late in the 4th quarter and a poor shooting night for Melo, brought the Knicks back with their feet on the ground after feuding verbally with the Celtics on and off the court throughout the whole series.
And so the Knicks found themselves on the road, playing a game 6 at the TD Banknorth Arena with extreme pressure on their shoulders. It only happened three times in NBA history for a team being led 3:0 in a playoff series to force a game 7, and that team never won it in the end. But with Boston and New York, anything was possible.
So the Knicks took this game very seriously and were on to a hot start, with Prigioni on fire from the 3 point line to put New York up 21-5 with 4:28 left in the first quarter. Paul Pierce’s terrible start, going 1-10 was just music to our ears. The tempo continued throughout the whole game, Boston showing very few signs of coming back into the game. They were eliminated plain and simple. Dead and buried. Trailing by 26 points early in the 4th act it, looked like the series was done and the Knicks were into the semifinals, advancing with a humiliating win over Boston in front of their own home crowd.
And then, everything changed. What followed in the next minutes was something that not even the most optimistic Celtic fan would have hoped for. In just 4 minutes, Boston turned the game completely around and were all of a sudden back in the game after a 20-0 run, to cut the lead from 26 to just 4 with 3:50 left to play! The Knicks were stunned, turning the ball over, time after time, doing nothing but watch the Celtics score on every position.
It seemed like we were going to have a game 7 back at Madison Square after all, a hell of a one, but Carmelo Anthony decided he will not let this go down that easy and made some key jump shots, including a three pointer that sealed the deal and put the series to an end with an 88-80 win!
The Knicks are back where they belong after a long, long break, going into the semifinals for the first time since 2000, when the #KnicksTape included names like Ewing, Sprewell, Houston, Johnson,Ward or Jeff van Gundy - the last crew that brought a conference title to MSG. And what could be a better way of getting here if not facing Indiana Pacers in the second round, the last rival of the 90s that the Knicks battled with, in 2000, for a second chance at the NBA Finals!