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The Knockout Punch

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 4/18/2011 4:53:23 PM

New York, New York it’s a wonderful town, and that’s where we’ll start in the assessment of the possible playoff upsets that just may take shape as under dogs wind up with a knockout punch.

Boston will be the opponents of the boys from Big Apple and although they won all 4 meetings during the season with the Knicks, things have a chance to be different.

First off, the Celts are limping, literally, into the playoffs. Delonte West is banged up, both O’Neals are hurt and Rajon Rondo has been playing injured for quite some time now. Factor in the fact that they will be missing their intimidator in Kendrick Perkins and the age factor of the Celts and they just might be vulnerable.

The Knicks will for the first time have a proven guy calling the shots at the point. They don’t call Chauncey Billups Mr. Big Shot for nothing as he is a former winner of the NBA Finals MVP.

He leads the league in unassisted three pointers, which means he still is not shy about stepping up and shooting that long ball at any time.

The Knicks won 7 in a row to close out the season before losing the last 2 meaningless games. And Carmelo Anthony is starting to figure it out as with Amar’e Stoudamire out in one of the games, he not only shot 50% from the field but also pulled down 14 rebounds.

Lastly, the Celtics were not a good team vs. the spread this season. They were 20-19-2 ATS at home and a minus 5 ATS on the pavement. And although they won this weekend, they didn’t cover.

With a big series from Billups, who did injure his leg late in the first game on Sunday, Madison Square Garden just might be rockin out after 6 games.

Now let’s go 3,000 mile in the other direction to the cozy confines of the Northwest and the Rose Garden as the Portland Trailblazers will be taking on the mighty Dallas Mavericks, who almost stole the second seed from the Lakers.

Portland, despite a rash on injuries, over achieved this season. They were plus 7 at home ATS and 43-36-3 as far as the spread overall and they did it behind breakout player LaMarcus Aldridge.

The Trailblazers shocked the Lakers in the third to last game when Aldridge and newly picked up Gerald Wallace and Andre Miller all had double/doubles and they got 18 points from youngster Wesley Matthews.

The wild card for Portland is the fact that Brandon Roy has shown a heart of gold for his team. Despite both knees being bone on bone, he has accepted his role off the pine and has been doing the little things that make a difference.

When your former best player shows that kind of leadership, it spreads like butter.

Portland won the last 2 games vs. Dallas and they lost 2 in Texas by a total of 8 points, covering in three of the 4 and they pushed in the other.

Another thing that is a bit worrisome about Dallas is the mental state of the team. Dirk Nowitzki had a rather strange quote before the opening series. He said basically he is just playing for a championship and it doesn’t matter when you get knocked out, whether it’s the first series or the Finals. It just sounded strange.

The last thing of interest in this series is the way the Texans ended the season against Western playoff teams. They lost 8 of their last 9 against the best of the West.

Oregon just might celebrate after 6 too.

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