ESPN NBA commentators offered insights on whether the Boston Celtics or Houston Rockets are better equipped to overcome their 0-3 deficit in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The teams will appear on ESPN this Friday, May 3, during a Game 6 doubleheader: New York Knicks-Boston Celtics at 7 p.m. ET and Oklahoma City Thunder-Houston Rockets at 9:30 p.m. Both series’ currently stand at 3-2. Also on Friday, ESPN2 will televise a doubleheader simultaneously, beginning with the Atlanta Hawks hosting the Indiana Pacers at 7 p.m. and the Los Angeles Clippers visiting the Memphis Grizzlies at 9:30 p.m. This will be the first time in 10 years that there are four Game 6 NBA playoff games.
Who is more likely to come back from 0-3 to win their first round playoff series – Boston against New York or Houston against Oklahoma City?
Houston. Oklahoma City hadn’t played a game without Westbrook in his career. It’s obvious the adjustments they have to make particularly at the point guard position. They are a completely different team without him and it’s just too much pressure on Durant. They haven’t been able to find that second guy to pick up the scoring.
Boston has gotten its second wind. I always felt Jason Terry would be the “x” factor and he is coming through. The Knicks will win the series but it could go to seven games. Houston is gaining confidence and experience at the same time. Ibaka’s short arm could make for a great story when the Thunder and Rockets meet in Game 7.
I’d say Boston is more likely. The Celtics have the style of play that translates well to possession-by-possession playoff basketball. They will put an enormous amount of pressure on the Knicks if they can win Game 6 in Boston. The pressure on a healthy Knicks team may suffocate them if the Celts can force a Game 7.
Houston. The Celtics are the kings of coming back after being written off – so let me stress that I wouldn’t dare write them off – but the reality is that the Rockets are playing the far more vulnerable opponent. Oklahoma City is a mess right now without Russell Westbrook. KG, Pierce and the rest of the Boston vets would presumably handle the pressure of a Game 7 better, but Houston’s kids are so young that they don’t seem to realize that they’re not supposed to be able to do what they’re doing.
The Rockets, because they’re lucky enough to face a team that is in the process of re-inventing the wheel. The Thunder are beside themselves trying to devise an offensive scheme that’ll work without Russell Westbrook. The Knicks, meanwhile, they’ve always taken a whole bunch of crazy shots. All they have to do is hit a few and they’ll move on.
Additionally, Baseball Tonight analyst Curt Schilling, who helped lead the Boston Red Sox back from an 0-3 deficit to prevail over the New York Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series, provided advice for the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets on ESPN Front Row.