Will the Knicks or Thunder blow it?
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
There’s a required machismo in sports, a demand that teams and players always expect victory. If you don’t think you can win, you can’t. That’s the thinking. So when New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson says he isn’t worried, he may not be. Woodson was a fine player and now is a fine coach, a tough product of the Bobby Knight institute, where self-doubt was not acceptable.
Yet here he is, talking, justifying his confidence in his team, which went up 3-0 on the Boston Celtics but now has lost two in a row and heads back to Boston for Game 6 in jeopardy of becoming the first team to blow a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven NBA playoff series.
“I think we’re still confident,” Woodson told news reporters Thursday. “We’re 3-2 in the series, and still facing a close-out game. So I feel pretty good about it, and our guys feel good. We’ve just got to go get back what we gave away last night.”
Expect similar sentiment from Scott Brooks, who has watched his Oklahoma City Thunder, the top seed in the Western Conference,
. The Knicks and Thunder play again Friday, facing road Game 6s as third shots to close out their first-round series.
Again, no team has ever blow a 3-0 series lead. There’s a first time for everything, though, so let’s examine who is more likely to do it during this season’s first round:
Case for the Knicks blowing it: The momentum lies with the Celtics. Every sports-talk radio host in New York is certain the Knicks are dead in the water, destined to join the 2004 New York Yankees in blowing a 3-0 series lead to a hated rival from Boston. New York has been streaky all season, and Carmelo Anthony is at the heart of that. For now, the Knicks forward has been ice cold, shooting 18-for-59 (30.5%) from the field during the past two games. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry give the Celtics a championship pedigree and big-time postseason experience, too. And <a … [For more on Who is more likely to blow it, Knicks or Thunder?, click here.]