That's ALL I've heard!
From Sports writers (local papers such as the Daily News, and the Post) to...
Analysts such as those on TNT, Barkley, Smith, etc...
My friends, family, and co-workers...
NO ONE BELIEVES!
When Doc Rivers decided to forfiet their game against the Wizards- he disrespected; he was TARGETING our Knicks!
I've heard it all:
We don't play defense
The Celt's can "turn it on" in the playoffs
Garnot will "shut down" STAT
Pierce is a problem
We can't stop Rondo
When I respond by asking "so how were we up 2 out of the three games we had, and came back from another"? They say that didn't matter, that "the playoffs are a different story".
Here's my assessment of this upcoming series (and my pep talk)
1st- To everyone who says the Knicks can't win, I say win what? This series, or the championship? To say we can't or won't win the championship isn't really going out on a limb as MOST teams won't win the chip this year.
BUT, in regards to THIS series, here are a few nuggets to digest. The Celtics are older, less formidable, and lack the same confidence. They have been struggling to put up points since the trade deadline.
Granted, their team defense has held teams to some of the lowest fg%. But isn't our offense designed to nullify these "great" defenses? Did anyone see how the Bulls great defense left us with many uncontested shots? Granted we live by them, if we miss, it looks bad. But when we make them... Oh' Boy!
We have nothing to lose. And as the saying goes "a man with nothing to lose, has everything to gain"
The pressure is on Boston and will be mounting every minute we remain competitive. Our goal is simple, split on the road, come back to MSG.
Like a boxer who was thought to have no shot, the longer the fight goes on, the more confident he gets.
2nd- "The playoffs are different" "The knicks haven't been there yet"
Yes, I agree, the playoffs are different. But should we discount the experience of our Big Apple 3? With players like Billups who went to 7 straight conference finals, and has a total of 133 playoff games under his belt, not to mention his accolades (Finals MVP etc...).
Or Melo who has 8 career playoff double-doubles, and 9 career 30pt games in the playoffs. He too carried his team to the WCF.
Or maybe they forgot about STAT. Arguably the MVP over the first half of he season. A 5 time all-star and All NBA Player, a year removed from the WCF where he dominated.
Is this who you really want Doc?
3rd- The bench and role players
Toney Douglas, ACC Defensive POY, runner up to Lawson as ACC Offensive POY. Toney has hit more threes after the allstar break than ANYONE, and his 3pt fg% was among the best in the league.
I point to the games where we played head to head, as well as against other playoff bound teams. When we lost, did they beat us, or did we beat ourselves?
I draw parallels to two seperate franchises in the past; The 07' Giants, and the 96' Yankees.
NO ONE thought they could win. Everyone counted them out. And granted a little luck was involved (see: Jeffrey Maier and "The Catch"), with winning teams it always is.
What many of these detractors don't understand is NEW YORK TEAMS THRIVE IN THE UNDERDOG ROLE!
We love it when no one believes, when it's us against the world. Bring it on!
If there's any word or words I would love to hear about my Knicks, it's not "dangerous" or "exciting" or even "surprising" it's...
"Gritty" and "Scrappy". Fearless. A team that won't back down. And that's the type of personnel we have. Fighters.
Are you sure we don't stand a chance? Sure this is the team you want to see? A hungry New York Team led by veterans in their prime.
Be careful what you ask for. Come Sunday...
We ain't playing no games!