The New York Knicks cemented themselves in the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference with a tight win over the Boston Celtics on Sunday afternoon. After leading by 17 points in the fourth quarter, Boston charged their way back, pulling the games within one point in the final moments. However, the Knicks extracted the victory, which was their ultimate goal despite a solid effort by Boston.
The Celtics were strung out with a series of injuries prior to the contest, and the Knicks nearly losing this game against reserve options was a bad sign as they prepare to take on the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs next weekend.
However, the Knicks are excited and motivated for the games ahead, as RJ Barrett and Derrick Rose made post-game comments regarding their home-court advantage and feeling toward this accomplishment.
â€œIt feels amazing, especially doing it with a group of guys who were here last year through some tough times,â€ said RJ Barrett. â€œWe were able to turn the program around and we have a bunch of new pieces. Thatâ€™s really what it is â€”Â how we worked hard after nobody really gave us a shot. But weâ€™re here.â€
If you were to tell me that the Knicks wouldâ€™ve been a 40+ one team and have home-court advantage in the postseason at the beginning of the year, I wouldâ€™ve called you crazy. Thanks to fantastic chemistry and leadership across the board, this team has smashed through expectations with ease and represents a formidable opponent that wonâ€™t be pushed over by other playoff teams.
Veteran Derrick Rose does understand that the mentality and quality of basketball will change next weekend, and heâ€™s preparing for that reality.
â€œThe intensity is going to change, and weâ€™ve just got to go all out,â€ Rose said. â€œWe know how big (Games 1 and 2) are with them playing in our house, and weâ€™ve got to take care of these two games and play as hard as we can, and weâ€™ll deal with it game by game but weâ€™ve got to take care of the first one first.â€