In the words of Amar’e Stoudemire, “How about those Knicks, huh?”
The New York Knicks continue their winning ways, beating closest rival Milwaukee Bucks, 89-90 at the Madison Square Garden Monday night.
The win came despite the absence of Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin, who were both DND’s due to injuries. Lin sat out because of a sore right knee, while Stoudemire’s back is bothering again, although he cleared doubts that he will be great affected by the recurring injury.
Carmelo Anthony led the team with 28 points and 12 boards, while Baron Davis took over the guard position with 13 points and 7 assists. This is the first time that ‘Melo was the leading scorer in a win by New York under Woodson, signifying a big change in his playing and i New York’s system. Mike Dunleavy was the leading scorer for the Bucks with 26 points, while the expected stars Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh combined for a measly 10 points.
The win pushed New York a little further away from Milwaukee in the standings, further boosting their hold on spot number 8 in the East standings. The Bucks trail the Knicks by 2 1/2 games, still a close race to get the last slot in the playoff bid. Thus far, only the Chicago Bulls have clinched a playoff spot in the league, with 40 wins and 11 losses.
The Knicks have won 7 of their las 8 games since Woodson took over the coaching job from Mike D’Antoni.
What has unfolded over the weekend at the NBA Playoffs has pushed me to look back at our fearless forecasts and see which of them still holds.
Lakers vs. Thunder [prediction: Lakers in 5]
This one’s not anymore true, as the Thunder has pushed it so far to a six-game duel. If LA takes the next two games, then the other half of our forecast holds.
Jazz vs. Nuggets [prediction: Nuggets in 6]
Not anymore, it ain’t six games. The undermanned Jazz is in command at 3-1. Denver will have to push for the ultimate jugular by winning the last three games. And if they don’t, our prediction’s busted for this match altogether.
Suns vs. Blazers [prediction: Portland in 7]
With the series tied at 2 games apiece, the only way this prediction fails is if Phoenix aces their next two assignments–assignments that Brandon Roy could foil. His return mixes up all factors into the playoffs, and our forecast might just come through.
Spurs vs. Mavs [prediction: Mavs in 6]
This is the only prediction that I am utterly glad and delighted to be wrong. I’m a big Spurs fan, but at first I really thought the Mavs would be tougher this time around, especially if you look at how last year’s playoff match between them ended. But things have turned out entirely different than our forecasts. Definitely, it won’t be just six games anymore, as the Spurs are ahead 3-1. Dallas will have to win the next three straight games, or their off-season summer officially starts.
Cavaliers vs. Bulls [prediction: Cavaliers in 5]
One more win by the Cavs and our prediction will fully come true. Derrick Rose better pull out his best tricks up from his sleeves, or else their journey ends on the road at Cleveland.
Celtics vs. Heat [prediction: Celtics in 6]
Since they have gone 3-0 already, even before D-Wade took over earlier in their game four atrocity and winning one for the Heat, the Boston Celtics are coming back home for a chance to go for the kill. Unless Miami robs one on the road, the series will end at five games in Boston, for Boston.
Hawks vs. Bucks [prediction: Hawks in 4]
Well, there’ll be no sweep victory for the Hawks in this first round obstacle, as the Bucks bounce back to stay alive in the series. The Hawks are still favored to win this round, but not without facing the fear of the deer.
Magic vs. Bobcats [prediction: Magic in 5]
Definitely, after going up 3-0, Magic will win this series, as no team has bounced back from a 0-3 deficit to win the series. But they will have to fight some more to prove that they did not just fluked their way to the playoffs. One game will at least give them a playoff win, and prove our prediction true.
Since our predictions are two-part (who wins, and in how many games), we’re quite sure that Orlando and Boston are going into the next round. One more set of duels and we’ll get to see how our forecasts went for the first round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs.