Raymond Felton Coming Up Big for New York Knicks in 2013 NBA Playoffs

Ciaran Gowan@@CiaranGowanContributor IIIApril 28, 2013

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 28: Raymond Felton #2 of the New York Knicks celebrates after making a three-point shot to end the third quarter against the Boston Celtics during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs on April 28, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Point guard Raymond Felton has been a key part of the New York Knicks all season long, and he's stepping up when it matters most.

The UNC product is showing everyone why Glen Grunwald chose him to run the show in the franchise's most important season in years, coming up big in the first round series against the Boston Celtics.

With little playoff experience in his career—his resume consists of two first round exits with the Charlotte Bobcats and the Denver Nuggets—some thought Felton might crumble in the spotlight, but that certainly hasn't been the case.

Actually, it's been quite the opposite. Felton has played some of his best basketball of the season in these first four playoff games, playing up to the intensity of the Boston match-up.

Felton has always been the type of player who doesn't let anything faze him. He's always confident, and understands how important his role is to team success.

Over the course of the series against the Celtics, Felton has consistently gotten into the lane, opening things up for the offense. After a poor regular season defensively, he also improved on that end of the floor, playing his part in a fantastic defensive unit.

The shining moment for Felton came in the Knicks' Game 4 loss against Boston. Paul Pierce and company came out fired up and ready to keep the series alive, exploding to a 20-point lead.

Clearly, Felton wasn't happy with the idea of having to play these guys again, leading the charge in the third quarter, where the Knicks made an unlikely comeback.

Felton had 16 in the third, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer, giving the Knicks the offensive spark they lacked in the absence of the suspended J.R. Smith.

Eventually, the Knicks would lose the game, but Felton certainly can't be blamed for that. The Celtics just had the heart to keep fighting against the odds.

For the series, Felton is averaging 17.8 points and 5.3 assists, doing so in 57 percent shooting. On the season, he only averaged 13.9 and 5.5, shooting 43 percent from the field.

If the Knicks can get that final win against Boston—and they should be able to at home on Wednesday—Felton will be even more important in the second round.

New York will face either the Indiana Pacers or Atlanta Hawks in the next round, and Felton's penetration will be needed to break down one of the league's better defenses.

When he's shooting efficiently and making the right decisions on offense, Felton can be the difference for the Knicks. They'll need him at his best if they're to make it to the conference finals and ultimately compete for a title.

Moving forward, Knicks fans can rest assured knowing that Felton will be their floor general throughout the playoffs. The franchise finally has the point guard it was looking for, and his postseason play has proved just that.