New York Knicks: Will They Get Swept by the Celtics?

Leslie MonteiroSenior Analyst IApril 20, 2011

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 19:  Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks reacts to a call in the second half against the Boston Celtics in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 96-93. 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 Elsa/Getty Images)
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Carmelo Anthony tied his career playoff-high for points by scoring 42 last night, but it was still not good enough for the Knicks to get a playoff victory.

The Celtics took a 2-0 series lead by earning a 96-93 victory over the Knicks. With the way it is looking, a sweep is not out of the question.

There’s no way the Knicks are winning the series, even if they somehow win both games at Madison Square Garden. If anything, it will be an accomplishment if the Knicks win a game against their nemesis.

If Anthony played one of his best games and still lose, how could the Knicks feel encouraged about their chances? Even with Amar’e Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups in this game, the team has proven they couldn’t beat the Celtics with those two, either.

The truth of the matter is that was a winnable game. The Knicks received unexpected contributions from Toney Douglas to help Anthony out. They matched every shot Boston made. It wasn’t good enough in the end, and that’s all that matters when the game was over.

The Knicks are now searching for answers. They have to ask themselves what it has to take to beat the defending Eastern Conference champions. They have two days to think about it before they play Friday night at the Garden.

If they can’t figure it out, this is going to be a sweep. The Knicks’ chances of winning the series were slim to begin with, but their chances of getting swept are good.

The Celtics know how to beat the Knicks at any time and any place. They make shots when they have to, and they know how to defend in crunch time. That’s why they won the two playoff games, and that’s why they won all four meetings in the regular season.

By watching Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce perform, it’s like watching bunch of PHDs. They put on a clinic on the court.  It’s a helpless feeling for opposing teams, and the Knicks know that all so well.

People can talk about how old the Celtics are, but they are producing and winning games. This is a team that went to the NBA Finals and they could have won a championship last year if Kendrick Perkins was not injured in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

This is a team that should not be taken lightly when it comes to their championship chances. The Knicks certainly learned their lesson by now, even if Anthony is in denial about the Celtics not doing anything special other than winning two games on their home court.

What Anthony keeps forgetting is the Celtics have had success at New York in the last few years.

How do the Knicks find a way to win a game against the Celtics?

They can start by playing defense for 48 minutes, not playing it for 35 minutes. That means there should be no breakdown on defense in the fourth quarter. Last night, Rondo, Allen and Pierce had room to shoot and they made their shots. They also had an easy path to the rim, which helped them make their baskets.

It would also be nice if some of the Knicks start knocking some of the Celtics down. Those guys need to make sure their layups are going to be earned.  The Knicks need to know how to create turnovers.

Sadly, the Knicks don’t have it in them to do that. They were never taught how to be physical or how to play defense. Mike D’Antoni does not believe that style works to win games.

It’s remarkable the Knicks' coach still doesn’t get it. He has been in the league for awhile now, so he should know from experience that defense wins championships.  He saw that when the Spurs would shut down his high-octane Suns when he was coaching Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire. 

He saw that last night when the Celtics forced the Knicks to take several bad shots and then create turnovers in the final few minutes. That’s how the game was won. The Knicks scored enough to win, but they couldn’t match Boston’s defensive intensity in the end.

It’s hard to believe things are changing now. The Knicks are not going to transform themselves into the teams Pat Riley built in the '90s. They are nothing more than a finesse team. For them to change into a physical team they are going to need a coach who puts emphasis on knocking guys down.

Unless there is a change of philosophy, look for the same old scene against the Celtics.

This is why it’s not looking good for the Knicks. The Celtics have no reason to fear their playoff opponent. They already got them beat despite the denials of D’Antoni’s players.

This has become like clockwork, which the Knicks tease folks until they find ways to lose in the end.

Go ahead and talk about how Madison Square Garden can get the Knicks to win games, but the problem with that thinking is the Celtics know how to win there, too.

Seeing the Celtics dominate the Knicks is like watching the Yankees toy with the Twins for the last nine years. 

These two playoff games are an indication that this will continue to happen.

It will be shocking if there is not a sweep when the game is over Sunday afternoon.