#3 Boston Celtics vs. #6 New York Knicks
(Season Series - 4-0)
Average Score: 108-101
How Celtics Got Here: They started out as one of the hottest teams in the league, winning 23 of their first 27. Since then though, the Celtics are just 23-24. They still managed to finish third in the East and they had a similar fall-off last season and still managed to make it to the Finals.
How Knicks Got Here: Amare Stoudemire was playing like an MVP candidate and the addition of Raymond Felton helped lead the Knicks to some early success. Then they underwent a complete overhaul in order to grab Carmelo Anthony. They struggled at first to adjust to the changes but won 7 in a row before dropping their last two while sitting some of their stars.
Rivalry Rekindled: It's not quite Red Sox vs. Yankees but a little bad blood between these two would be a good thing for the NBA.
More Annoying Fans: This is a tough call. On one hand you have Boston fans that are way too intense and care way too much about their sports teams. On the other you have a lot of Knicks fans who were nowhere to be found for about the past decade. Fair-weather fans are definitely worse.
More Close-Ups of Carmelo Anthony's sarcastic smile or Kevin Garnett's scowl?:
Producers love KG's scowl. Shots of him clenching his teeth will be shown ad nauseum.
Unfair Pressure: For the Knicks, the pressure is on Carmelo Anthony. If the Knicks don't at least push this series to 6 games then the criticism will fall on Anthony. It wasn't his fault the Knicks traded away half their talent for him but he'll get the blame if they aren't competitive.
For the Celtics, it's Jeff Green and Danny Ainge who would feel the wrath if they fall. Everyone has been panning the trade that sent Kendrick Perkins to OKC for Jeff Green. What people are missing is the fact that it has been the Celtics' offense that has struggled since Perkins left and he wasn't that big of a factor on that end of the court.
Off-Court Battle I'd Like to See: Carmelo's wife LaLa vs. Ray Allen's mom. The only way LaLa wins is if Ray Allen has a huge game and Ms. Allen is too wiped out from jumping and cheering all game long.
How Celtics Will Win:
The Celtics have recently won with toughness and intensity on the
defensive end. KG will need to limit Amare Stoudemire and Paul Pierce
will need to contain Carmelo. If they frustrate those two than the rest
will fall into place.