Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012

Knicks vs. Celtics, 2010–11 Playoffs

While there is a bitter, long-standing New York City–Boston rivalry in most every sport, in basketball, hints of a Knicks-Celtics feud have become apparent only in recent years. In the 2010–11 season, the Celtics defeated the Knicks in each of their eight matchups, including a four-game sweep in the Eastern conference quarterfinals. In fact, the Celtics hold an overwhelming 18-2 edge over the Knicks in franchise championships. While the NBA has long hoped for a fierce rivalry to develop between the two teams, the Knicks' historically poor performance on the court against the Celtics has deterred any legitimate feud. But that all changed in the first game of the postlockout 2011–12 season. The NBA scheduled the teams to go head-to-head on Christmas Day; the result was the Knicks' first win against the Celtics in years, defeating them 106-104 in the game's final moments. After the victory, Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni revealed that the franchise had set its sights on the Celtics as the team to beat, saying, "It's going to be a rivalry now. They are not going to back down, and we are not going to back down." Whether this contention has any legs to stand on is uncertain, but at least the Knicks can look to their city's fellow athletes for guidance.