This is such an exciting time for New York City. Having been a player the last time this city and its fans got to experience the playoffs makes me very proud to be a part of this franchise’s history and its future.
It’s interesting to see the similarities and differences between today’s Knick team and those from the 1990s and early 2000s. It’s obvious that our style of play is different. We also never had two of the top five scorers and potentially two of the most dominant players of their decade on our teams! What we do share, though, is heart and mental toughness. Despite being a low seed in some postseasons, we were always dangerous.
Now in my third season in the Knicks’ front office, I am very optimistic that this team has the foundation for long-term postseason success. Going into Game 3 on Friday night against the Celtics, I’m happy to see the amount of energy and attention to the game plan the team are showing.
I’d say their biggest challenge is their lack of experience both being together as a team and in playoff basketball. It’s very beneficial for the young guys to get this experience, but to get it playing with guys who’ve been known to raise their level of play during this time of year like Amar’e [Stoudemire] and Carmelo [Anthony] is priceless. What’s even better is having the opportunity to play alongside a guy like Chauncey [Billups] and see his approach to the game off the court. He brings stability and knowledge of the game. He’s a proven champion, something we all can respect.
As much as we may be disappointed by being down 2-0, I definitely know that we can still make this a series. One of the most important things I can share with this team is to learn from Games 1 and 2 — but do not dwell on them. From my experiences in tough playoff battles, every single possession, every minute you have out there on the court matters, whether it’s the first possession or the final minute. Both of our games really came down to one possession, which gives us extreme confidence. That’s something not just this team sees; Boston is experienced and must see it the same way. Our focus at this point is to stay together, stay confident and get excited to share this awesome experience with this city on the greatest stage in the world, Madison Square Garden!
Allan Houston is the Knicks’ Assistant General Manager. Madison Square Garden, which controls the Knicks, is run by the same ownership as amNewYork’s parent company, Cablevision.