The Knicks have seemingly gotten over the hump against the Boston Celtics, winning the season series 3-1 after a blowout win last night at the Garden. Despite the success, it’s very easy to forget those last two wins came against a KG-less Celtics, which pretty much makes those victories null and void as far as having any real meaning. It will be completely different Boston team matching up with the Knicks in a potential playoff showdown and that matters.
With this in mind, I caught up with our friend Robert Silverman over at KnickerBlogger in the TrueHoop Network, to get an insider perspective on the Knicks as we head down the home stretch here. What’s the deal with Tyson Chandler? Who do the Knicks want to see in the first round? And do they still fear the Celts? I talked it over with Silverman, and the answers may surprise you.
CelticsHub: How much of a concern is the Tyson Chandler injury? Is the team just being cautious right now or is there real long term worry there? Also any chance we see a productive Rasheed Wallace back this year as well?
Robert Silverman: Welp, ’round these parts, given the Knicks’ crack medical team, every paper cut/boo-boo/owie/nasty pootem-wootem bam-bams (or whatever familial euphemism for ‘injury’ you prefer) tends to met with a level of panic that usually requires Zoloft prescriptions of 40mg or more. Reason One is the borderline-clinical level of paranoia that is evinced by the team’s PR staff. Every injury is listed as “Day-to-day,” such that whenever a ‘Bocker goes down/leaves a game, you’ll hear a flurry of jokes on the Twitter Machine like, “BREAKING NEWS: Pablo Prigioni was decapitated by an ill-aimed t-shirt cannon. The Knicks list him as day-to-day with a head contusion. No MRI will be performed.”
So when Tyson Chandler left with a knee bruise that somehow transmogrified into a bulging disk in his neck, yes, there’s a tendency for serious worry. Reason Two is that, oddly, the Knicks seem to defer to the players themselves with regards to medical procedures (Melo didn’t have his knee drained for over a week because he’s scared of needles. Tyson and others have been reported as refusing to get balky joints scanned because, I don’t know, they think Magnetic Resonance Imaging imparts evil spirits. And Reason Three, like y’all the Knicks have suffered an awful rash of trips to the DL this season.
On top of all that, we just don’t know if No. 2 is even true because of No. 1 — the Knicks often lie or dissemble or cloak the truth in a giant veil of secrecy. When it comes to injuries, they’re a mystery wrapped in an enigma with a core of pure BS. My personal feeling is that they’re just being cautious and Tyson’s okay, but he will be out for the remainder of the regular season. Kenyon Martin has exceeded every expectation, but if they have any hope of an extended playoff run, they’ll need the reigning DPOY back at top form. In sum, yes, I’m worried. (And there’s zero chance of Sheed coming back, which is sad.)
CelticsHub: What’s the ideal first round matchup for the Knicks?
Silverman: Assuming we’re looking at a group of Milwaukee, Atlanta and y’all, I think it’s the Hawks. The Bucks’ quick guards are going to brutalize the Knicks and the Celtics have got wayyyyy too much postseason moxie for our liking.
CelticsHub: Is there still a fear of the Celtics in New York during the postseason, or has the team’s last couple regular season wins in Boston helped calm that?
Silverman: Without a doubt, yes. A Knicks-Celtics 1st round series would be exciting as hell, but I can’t imagine a scenario in which it doesn’t last at least 6-7 games. Despite fielding the oldest team in the league, this year’s Knick model has absolutely zero playoff experience together. As I mentioned above, Boston has that in spades. The Knicks have fallen apart emotionally on more than one occasion this season when confronted with physical play and/or a veteran team that knows how to get under an opponent’s skin. In a postseason tilt, Messrs. Pierce, Garnett et al would pull out every trick in the book to short of flinging handfuls of General Mills-brand cereals. And it’d probably work.
Silverman and a bunch of other great Knicks writers also have a new book out about the intriguing Jeremy Lin era in New York, called “We’ll Always Have Linsanity.” It has the CelticsHub seal of approval on it, so you should definitely check it out over on Amazon by heading to this link. http://www.amazon.com/