It wasn't pretty and it wasn't exactly by the book but the Boston Celtics did what they set out to do, they advanced to the next round of the playoffs. With a 101-89 win over the New York Knicks Sunday, the Celtics dusted off the brooms and swept the Knicks out of the Playoffs and now can enjoy at least a week of rest before facing what many are expecting to be the Miami Heat (who lost their close-out game Sunday but are still up 3-1 over the 76ers)
"It's what we expected coming in. We knew it wasn't going to be easy, obviously Games 1 and 2, but we found a way to put it away," Rajon Rondo said. "We haven't swept a team in a long time, so it's good feeling."
Rondo, the Celtics All-Star point guard, had struggled leading into the playoffs with inconsistency and a lack of focus but he emerges from round 1 of the playoffs the Rondo of old. He nearly doubled his per game point average, going from 10 in the regular season to 19 in round 1 as well as increased his assists per game (11 to 12) and rebounds (4 to 7).
Not bad for a guy that the Knicks coach, Mike D'antoni (who drafted Rondo when he was head coach of the Suns and then traded to Boston), said was merely a product of the all-star cast around him and wouldn't be so good on another team.
"He [Rondo] had a great feel for the team, which is great. Just like I said of [Jason] Varitek, he's really calling a great game for us," said coach Doc Rivers, who took the high road when asked if he was curious how Rondo would do elsewhere. "I'm more curious about getting four [wins]. I don't think a whole bunch about that . . . if there is a negative side I guess that would be it. That no matter how well you play, the question will be [there] and someday that will be answered."
For the Knicks, you can take a boatload of disappointment from this series. With the chance to win both games 1 and 2, the what if game is going to be in full swing this offseason. But with that being said, the future is bright for the organization. With a healthy Stoudemire and Anthony next season (presuming there is a next season) along with some smart roster moves, the Knicks could be a legit contender for the first time in ages.
"I think Mike [D'Antoni] is one of the best coaches in the game," Rivers added. "The addition of Carmelo [Anthony] is a huge addition for them. . . . Having [Amar'e] Stoudemire and Carmelo, that is two great pieces. They are going to keep adding. As long as people stay patient, it will work out."