It's a big one. Or, it can be a big one. If we win. If we lose than the result can be credited to the Celtics dominance rather than the Knicks ineptitude. But if we win than all of a sudden that dreadful West Coast trip seems like a long time ago. If we win that means a three-game winning streak with a home game tomorrow night against the beatable Bucks of Milwaukee. If we win it's a big one.
So, how do these Knicks beat those Celtics tonight? Here's how:
1. Stephon Marbury needs to dominate his matchup with Rajon Rondo. This is one of the only spots on the floor where we have a marked advantage. Marbury needs to be aggressive going at this kid. Unfortunately, Marbury occassionally seems less motivated when playing against the lesser guards in the league. Hopefully, that won't be the case tonight. With his old running mate Garnett on the floor and all the pub around Boston this shouldn't be a problem.
2. Ditto for Eddy Curry and his matchup with Kendrick Perkins. He needs to fill up the paint and basket. Mercifully, they don't score much from the center position so we don't have to worry as much about Eddy's defensive struggles.
3. Speaking of defensive struggles, we need to figure out who guards Ray Allen? Do we really entrust this job to Jamal Crawford? I feel like we need to put Q on him as much as possible. And then we can get Richardson to post him up on the other end in hopes of tiring him.
4. Next, we need to figure out early on who can guard Paul Pierce? I feel like we need to put Balkman on Pierce as much as possible. And, if he tires then we need to try sending Jeffries at him. It is highly unlikey that Zach Randolph will slow down KG so it is of paramount importance that Knicks do everything they can to stop Pierce and Allen.
5. Eddie House cannot be allowed to go all Daniel Gibson on us. We need to keep him from raining down threes. It's one thing to lose this game to any member of THE BIG THREE and something else entirely to loose because we can't rotate to the open shooter.
6. The Knicks second unit needs to continue to be a strength. Lee, Balkman and Nate coming off the bench need to take advantage of the C's lack of depth. The Knicks need to make up ground with this group if they fall behind or, hopefully, pull ahead if they're in when the game is close. The Big Three will get their numbers over the course of the game and we need to make sure our Bench Three does the same.
If we do these things than we MIGHT win this game. Then again, we might not. Either way I'm sure Charles Barkley will have some wondrous zingers to share at half-time.
1) Challenge is not really the right word. ACC dominates Big Ten again, winning 8 of 11 games in the annual series of inter-conference matchups. And, while Ohio State actually gave #2 UNC a ballgame, the domination was punctuated last night with Boston College's second-half romp at Michigan. Tyrese Rice scored 28 and keyed the 12-0 run that put the game and the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on ice.
2) Delmon Young for Matt Garza. Who for What? Hitting for Pitching. Young troubled stud for young slightly underachieving stud. Rays and Twins. Delmon Young may be a nutbar but he is very, very good at baseball. It's not quite the A-Rod deal but it means the Twins have quietly and economically replaced Torii Hunter. That was quick.
3) Fear the one-year Turtle. Stevie Franchise sparks Rockets and Yao brings the gasoline. Yao dropped 31 and grabbed 13 as Houston beat Phoenix. With 3 straight wins the Rockets have recovered from their slump (6 straight losses) and they've already got statement W's over LA, Utah, San Antonio, Denver and Phoenix.
4) Police announce that they have no suspects in murder of Sean Taylor and say that all evidence points towards break-in gone wrong.
5) Dwight Howard hung 39 on the Sonics last night. And used the space needle as a toothpick.