The Knicks know the math from here on out: if they win on Friday, they have history strongly on their side: no team in NBA history has ever rebounded from a 3-0 deficit.
"It's important for us to go out there and try to get this next one and just try to seal it as soon as possible," J.R. Smith said on Thursday as the Knicks prepared for Game 3 of their first-round series against the Celtics in Boston on Friday.
The Knicks have a 2-0 lead against Boston; it's the first time they've won the first two games of a postseason series since 2000. That's also the last year they won a playoff series.
The Knicks are 9-2 when they have a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series and the Celtics have lost eight straight series -- and nine of the last 10 -- that they've trailed 2-0.
Still, no one on the Knicks is looking past Game 3.
"They've won a championship, so we all understand that the series is far from over," Jason Kidd said. "We took care of what we had to do, and that was protect home and now they want to do the same thing. So we're just focused on tomorrow night and try to find a way to win on the road."
But Mike Woodson acknowledged that there are ancillary benefits to the Knicks closing the series quickly. He said it would be "fantastic" if the Knicks had several days off before they started the second round. The extended break would give Woodson's walking wounded (Kenyon Martin, Pablo Prigioni, Tyson Chandler) a chance to fully heal.
"But we've got to get to that stage first," Woodson said.
Added Anthony: "Anytime you can get a series like this over with it’s always a bonus."
Anthony's been a driving force in the Knicks' two wins at MSG. He's scored 70 points in two games but admitted after Game 2 that he's missing open shots, shots that he's made consistently in the regular season.
The Knicks star knows the Celtics will make adjustments heading into Game 3; he and his teammates also realize that the Boston crowd will make life difficult at the TD Bank Garden.
"It's going to be hostile for us. If you're the home team it's a great place to play, if you're the away team it's a nightmare," J.R. Smith said.
The Celtics will be playing their first home game since the terror attack at the Boston Marathon last week. So Woodson expects an emotional atmosphere on Friday night.
"We’ve got to go in and understand that and just concentrate on basketball and playing a solid 48 minute ball game," he said Thursday. "It can’t be less than that. We can’t get caught up in all the hoopla that’s going to surround this game."
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