Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
The Knicks will open their first playoff series in seven years this weekend on the road in Boston.
And Carmelo Anthony is expecting a war.
“Brutal battles, man.’’ Anthony told reporters at Tuesday’s shootaround in Greenburgh, N.Y. “Wars. It’s going to be a very intense, high-energy series. They got something to prove. We have something to prove. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a battle. It’s going to be crazy. We just have to keep our composure. It’s going to be a very physical series. That’s the way they play.”
The Knicks, who gained the No. 6 seed, haven’t been to the postseason since 2004 and haven’t won a playoff game since 2001.
They are 6-7 all-time in the postseason against the No. 3 Celtics, and went 0-3 versus Boston this season.
In the most recent meeting between the teams, Anthony took five stitches above the left eye from a Rajon Rondo elbow in a 98-96 loss March 21.
“I’m excited about it,” Anthony said of the series. “We look forward to it. We have to start fine-tuning some things for that series. Their team has been together for a long time. They know what it takes to get there. It’s a lot of [our] guys first time in the playoffs. We want to prepare ourselves for everything.’’
Boston is struggling with its own issues and has gone 9-11 in its last 20 games. The Celtics traded center Kendrick Perkins, a key to their interior defense, to Oklahoma City. And Shaquille O’Neal has missed 44 games this season with an assortment of leg injuries. Head coach Doc Rivers may opt not to coach next year in order to spend time watching his son, Austin, who has signed with Duke.
Entering tonight’s game against Chicago, the Knicks have won seven straight. Amar’e Stoudemire (sprained ankle) is out for the Bulls game, and could continue to rest until the playoffs. The Knicks close the season at Boston Wednesday.
Still, point guard Chauncey Billups, acquired in the Anthony deal, said the Knicks “are probably, most certainly, the most dangerous first round team in the NBA.”
“When I say that it’s because we are new, and we are dangerous,” he added. “We’ve got a lot of weapons. We can move the scoreboard. I think our defense is a lot better. We’re going to be a tough out, man.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.