Raymond Felton Driving Force Behind New York Knicks Playoff Push
The fate of the New York Knicks’ postseason hopes may ultimately rest on the broad shoulders of its lunchbox point guard, Raymond Felton. He guided his team to a whopping 16-point rout of the Boston Celtics in Tuesday’s night’s game. The Knicks are now up two games to zero over the Celtics in this best-of-seven series, largely due to the eight-year veteran’s contributions.
Felton scored 16 points, seven rebounds and two assists with zero turnovers. His numbers pale in comparison to the monster stats that Oklahoma City Thunder Point Guard Russell Westbrook routinely puts up, but what the eight-year veteran represents to his team is invaluable. He is more than a point guard; he’s a point catalyst.
Felton is a pick and roll wizard, often working in tandem with Tyson Chandler. His quick first step allows him to get to the hoop with ease. And when he is able to attack the rim, it sets his team’s offense in motion, as Knicks Head Coach Mike Woodson indicated after Tuesday night’s game, according to the New York Daily News.
“We got stops and then Raymond did a great job of really pushing it and getting us into something, Woodson said.
“The ball would move from side to side, and guys were able to get into seams and draw and kick and make shots. That’s kind of how our offense has flowed all season.”
Woodson said that his team had the best ball movement it had all year, which is high praise for an offense that finished just outside of the NBA top ten in Points Per Game scoring.
Felton has also stepped it up on the defensive end. He is taking on a huge assignment this series by squaring up against the 6-7, 235 pound Paul Pierce, who is starting at the shooting guard spot for Boston. Felton, who is giving up about six inches and 30 pounds to Pierce, played the large swingman admirably by applying consistent pressure. And when Pierce, Boston’s primary offensive threat, got to the basket, Kenyon Martin was there to erase his shots. Felton outplayed Pierce, who scored only three of his 18 points in the fourth quarter.
Felton shot 53 percent in Tuesday’s game, which was 10 percentage points higher than his regular season average. And Felton scored in a variety of ways, off floaters, mid-range jumpers and drives to the basket. In all, it was a total game for the Knicks’ “little, big man.” The team hopes it can continue Friday in game three in Boston’s TD Garden arena.
Tacuma R. Roeback is a New York Knicks writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TacumaRoe, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+