The Thunder inexplicably lost at home to the Houston Rockets 107-100, while my Knicks laid an egg against those damn, vile, cheap shotting Boston Celtics 92-86. Both were Game 5s. Both were at home.
Now the Rockets and Celtics have more confidence and swagger and that is bad news for the Thunder and Knicks.
They arguably have Thunder and Knicks respectively where they want them. Both underdogs will get those teams at home for Game 6 on Friday night. All the pressure in the world will be on the higher seeded teams. There is no better feeling for an underdog to be in the position to play with house money.
Now both OKC and especially New York have to be gripping. Both series were thought to be quick endings – especially OKC/Houston. But both Houston and Boston had stayed alive through playing good, old-school brand of basketball. Both teams worked the ball to open teammates en route to a balanced scoring attack (Houston had six players who scored double digits, Boston had five) – what a concept!
I definitely will be watching both Game 6s Friday night to see how both road teams handle the pressure. I think my Knicks will have a worse time dealing with it because it’s against their hated division rivals who have long been “big brother” to the Knicks. That’s not to say that Kevin Durant and the Thunder won’t be feeling the pressure too. After all, OKC is only the top-seeded team in the Western Conference and was supposed to sweep the Rockets.
Nevertheless, that’s what makes the NBA Playoffs one of the best in all of sports (with the NHL being the best) – you never know what you’re going to get night in and night out…