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NBA New York Knicks

Raymond Felton Proving To Be Knicks’ Greatest X-Factor in 2013 NBA Playoffs

Raymond Felton New York Knicks

Tom Szczerbowski-USA Today Sports

Believe it or not, point guard Raymond Felton has been one of the New York Knicks‘ key players in the team’s opening round playoff series against the Boston Celtics.

Over two games thus far, Felton has posted 14.5 points and four assists per game, plust 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals. Felton is also shooting 46 percent from the field, though his long range game has suffered to the tune of making just 20 percent of his threes. It’s a bit concerning that the normally decent three-point shooter has struggled in that area in the postseason, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that he has still performed beyond expectations for someone just 6’1″, 205 pounds.

During the regular season, Felton averaged 13.9 points, 5.5 assists and 1.4 steals while making 43 percent of his attempts and 36 percent of his threes. Be it driving the lane or pulling up for a jumper in the mid-range or beyond the arc, the former North Carolina Tar Heel was still a key contributor on both sides of the floor.

Granted, Felton’s strong performance in the playoffs could just be chalked up to his superior experience. Boston’s Avery Bradley is a fine on-ball defender, but he has only been in the league for three seasons compared to Felton’s eight.

Moreover, the Celtics do not have the incredibly dynamic Rajon Rondo to run the point for them. Were he in the lineup, chances are Felton would not be performing so well.

But the fact of the matter is that Felton is proving to be New York’s greatest x-factor over the first two games of the series. Sharpshooter Steve Novak has not been his usual lights-out self from long range (at least not yet), and center Tyson Chandler is still trying to get his legs back as he works his way back from a neck injury. On top of that, it appears that head coach Mike Woodson does not want to use second-year guard Iman Shumpert as anything more than a defensive pest.

That all being said, it is critical that Felton be at his best for the remainder of this series, and perhaps beyond. Along with teammates Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith, he can help ensure New York’s continuing to make noise in the postseason.