By Taylor Armosino, Knicks fan since '03
In the first round of the playoffs, the 2nd-seeded Knicks will face off against the 7th-seeded Boston Celtics. New York emerged victorious in three of the four regular season matchups between the two teams, winning the last two games by a combined 36 points.
Mike Woodson's offense was one of the best in basketball this season, ranking third in the NBA in points scored per 100 possessions. But the Celtics' defense finished fifth in the NBA in points allowed per 100 possessions, so the Knicks will have their work cut out for them. However, all the data accessible to us suggests the Knicks are the better team and should win the series.
Boston's one big weakness defensively is rim protection. According to the NBA.com stats database, the Celtics rank 16th and 19th respectively in opponent field goal percentage on shots taken less than 5 feet away from the rim and in the 5-9 foot range. This is because Kevin Garnett is the team's only solid rim protector and he only played 29.7 minutes a game this season. His minutes will increase in the playoffs, but the fact remains that he's the only rim protector on the team. This is where the Knicks must attack.
Let's breakdown what the Knicks like to do and how they can do it against Boston.
(Statistical support from NBA.com and Synergy Sports)
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