With the Knicks just a half game behind the Pacers for the second spot in the Eastern Conference, and the Celtics currently sitting in the 7th spot, there is still a very possible scenario in which these two teams meet in the first round of the playoffs. The New York Post’s Mike Vaccaro has some fun with that idea, using it to poke Knicks fans about their possible fear of Boston:
Yet, there remains an intrigue attached to the Celtics for a simple reason: There are Knicks fans by the thousands, maybe by the millions, who looked at the standings yesterday morning and saw the following facts: the Knicks resting in second place by percentage points in the Eastern Conference; the Celtics solidly in seventh.
And that’s terrifying. The Celtics aren’t whole, won’t be whole, aren’t what they have been in past years, aren’t what they will be in the next few years. But they wear those jerseys. They have those banners. Even wounded, they lurk in the memories and the stomachs of Knicks fans who have no trouble admitting they would prefer to have no part of the Cs when the playoffs begin.
I would think it only natural for Knicks fans to have a healthy respect for Boston, and by respect I mean a deep, searing hatred that burns below the deepest cauldrons of their souls.
You can kind of look at this two ways, you can be afraid to play Boston, as losing to this particular Celtics team in their weakened condition would be a humiliation you do not soon wish to endure, or you could perhaps be excited about the prospect of officially ending the Garnett/Pierce era in Boston once and for all with a swift first-round exit that sends them both on to their golden years. You could even feel both of those things at the same time, if you are capable of that type of mental jujitsu.
For my mind, I’d personally be a trifle more nervous about a first-round matchup with the Bulls, a physical, defensive team that feels especially built to get under our craw and disrupt our game. Would I be leery of the old Boston ghosts, and the potential for them to pick up their games under the bright lights of the postseason? Why yes, yes I would, but I’d still like the Knicks’ chances by a pretty hefty margin.