April 21st 2013 13:45
NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs - Game 1 of 7
Boston Celtics 78-85 New York Knicks
Just 5 days removed from the horrific scenes on the streets in New England, and given the whirlwind of events that have followed since, you'd be forgiven for looking past the usual pomp and circumstance that is the NBA Playoffs in light of the bigger picture...
Sport can and continues to be a release from reality. Many games across the state of Massachusetts were respectfully cancelled this week while those whose lives were stolen by another inhumane act were mourned and remembered.
Eventually as they say - the show must go on. A representative from the city of Boston tool centre stage last night as the Celtics opened their best-of-seven series in the opening round of the NBA Playoffs. Competition on the court may have been as rife as ever, but you couldn't fail to notice the edge had been taken from this game, as the historical animosity that consists between these two major US cities was forgotten as New York and Boston stood in unity and remembrance.
The result itself was as expected, but there was perhaps more to the method than first meets the eye. The Celtics who wound up as the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference were more than a match for the Knicks on the night in a relatively low-scoring affair. New York who were comfortably 2nd only to Miami in the Conference after an eye-catching late season winning streak would - at least on paper - have been expected to better their eventual 7 point winning margin which will give the visitors renewed hope as the series roles on.
In terms of individual performance it was a familiar sight as Carmelo Anthony continues his relentless pursuit a fairy tale of New York. The small forward has been a revelation this season and after putting up 90 solo points in two games last month, outshone the competition once more with a game-high 36 points to give his Knicks the edge. After jeers and jibes in recent years about him being 'past it' and at his so far fruitless attempts at an NBA ring, with Carmelo in this form it is impossible to count New York out.
Anthony's performance is perhaps best proportioned by the fact that the other 4 starters for the home side contributed just 16 points between them in Madison Square Garden last night.
Boston shared the wealth a little more readily - Paul Pierce, Jeff Green and Avery Bradley all achieved double figures as the Celtics endeavored to and will take heart from the fact they kept the Knicks in their sights for the games entirety.
They'll do it all over again in the Big Apple on Tuesday evening...