Knicks and Rockets fail to close out series

Could the Rockets and Celtics make NBA history?

5/2/13 in NBA   |   MortonsLaw   |   156 respect

The New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder, both with 3-1 leads, failed to close out their series at home Wednesday night.

Which is more of a surprise? As much as I loathe the Knicks, I'm shocked they didn't win and close out the Celtics. For the first three games the Knicks actually looked like a 2 seed, and the Celtics, despite being battle tested and having players with hardware, played the part of the 7 seed.

May 1, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith (8) protects the ball from Boston Celtics center Kevin Garnett (5) and shooting guard Jason Terry (4) during the second half in game five of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. The Celtics won the game 92-86. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY SportsAnd with JR Smith sidelined for game 4 via suspension, the Celtics still blew a 20 point lead and needed overtime to win one game. Call it Celtics pride, I considered it an aberration. I was still convinced the Knicks would finish off the Celtics at home in game 5.

They even started game 5 up 11-0. As foolish as it may sound to dismiss a team early in the first quarter, I thought the game had 30 point blowout written all over it. I believed the Knicks would cruise and move on to the second round.

However, whether you want to credit Doc Rivers, the Celtics experience, or just say the Knicks aren't quite ready to take that next step, that early lead vanished as quickly as it was built. The Celtics took control of the game and the Knicks never got closer than 5 points down the stretch.

I have often been very critical of Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith. I feel they do what's best for them and not the team. They appear to think that if they can't win the game--nobody else will. Don't get me wrong, when these two players are on, they can be as dangerous as any player in the league.

However, when they are off, they fail to recognize how detrimental their play can be. The biggest problem is the ball stops moving and nobody touches it. Raymond Felton has been better than advertised and elevated his game in this series.

Felton was 10-19 from the floor and had 21 points.  I'm not sure if in the mind of Melo and J.R. if Felton reached his quota for shots attempted. It just boggles my mind when you see 25 foot shots being jacked up, yet you have a guy who can penetrate and get higher percentage shots. But that's been the Knicks all year-- live by the 3 and die by the 3. So it's highly unlikely this will change.

Will the Knicks stand tall and advance or will the pressure get the best of them. Can they handle this kind of adversity?

And now the comparison is being made to the 2004 ALCS between the Yankees and Red Sox. Keep in mind, no team has come back down 3-0 in the NBA. In 2004 it was the first and only time it happened in baseball. Can these two cities make history again?

One thing that gets under my skin is hearing Knicks' fans say it doesn’t matter when they get eliminated because the Heat will win the NBA title regardless. While the Heat look like a machine, this is sports and anything can happen. I hate that defeatist attitude. Blowing a 3-0 series lead should be painful for any fan to experience. I can’t ignore history possibly being made just because you believe some other team can’t lose.

May 1, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale is congratulated by Rockets assistant coach Kelvin Sampson in action againsnt the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half in game five of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Rockets defeated the Thunder 107-100. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY SportsWithout Russell Westbrook it is a different scenario for the Thunder despite having been up 3-0. The Rockets are no push over and with James Harden playing at the level he is, makes it that much greater of a task to eliminate Houston.

Kevin Durant can only do so much, and the player traded for Harden, Kevin Martin, was flat out awful last night. Who else can step up for the Thunder? I believe this series is going 7 games. I do not rule out the possibility of the Rockets winning this series.

The Thunder appear to be doubting themselves, while the Rockets led by head coach Kevin McHale, are gaining confidence by each minute played. So many players for the Rockets have stepped up and maximized their talents in the last two games.

Is it possible that we could have history made twice in one playoff season? Could the Knicks and Thunder each blow 3-0 series leads?
 
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