The Curse of the Parquet Floor

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Curse of the Parquet Floor

Knicks logo

Ray Overton, do not read this!

If the Knicks... our New York Knicks... decide to become the first team in the history of the National Basketball As­so­ciation to lose a series in which they had been leading three games to none, I don't want you coming to my house with a carload of pressure cookers stuffed with kerosene and fertilizer because you think I put a jinx on their playoff series with the Boston Celtics by posting this before a clincher!

But after Friday evening's 90-76 win over the detested Celts, I am cautiously optimistic about their chances.

In truth, going into the game I was haunted by images of improving Knicks teams... ones led by Willis Reed and Walt Bellamy, Howard Komives and Dick Barnett... traveling to Boston for a nationally-televised Sunday afternoon match-up against a bunch of white guys and Bill Russell.

This was in the '60s before the Knicks had won any championships and the Celts were in their 11-titles-in-13-seasons phase; the results always seemed to be the same.

The Knicks, coached by the defense-minded Red Holtz­man, would play a decent first two quarters and maybe even have a lead at halftime.

I have no idea what Celts coach Red Auerbach might have said to them in the locker room, but the focus of my nightmares was always the third quarter where John "Hondo" Havlicek would unfailingly take over the game.

I can see it now: Havlicek in his black sneakers... not basketball shoes emblazoned with the logos of Addis, Nike or Reebok, they looked like ordinary ole Keds or PF Flyers... fast-breaking down the right side of the parquet floor with a Russell outlet pass, then pulling up for a 17-foot low arc jump shot, three, four or five times in that third quarter from which the Knicks could never recover.

That nightmare recurred because the reality recurred on a regular basis, always on a Sunday afternoon... because that's when the NBA's contract with the ABC network specified... on my antenna-served 17-inch black-and-white TV set on Maple Street.

So it's a historical thing with me and I have considerable justification for my dubiety leading up to last night's game three at Boston Garden TD Garden... but the Knicks won in the shut-down style which has been a hallmark of their three wins so far: the Celtics have yet to score 80 points on them!

I needn't have worried, and I look forward to them closing out the series in four straight on....

O no! It's Sunday!


1. Ray Overton said...

If the Celts pull a Bosox (coming back from three down against the Yanks), I will remind you of this post on a regular basis forever. The pressure cooker would let you off too easy. Besides violence is really not my style.

I considered the possible link to the '04 Yanks/Red Sox... or, as Johnny Shotwell used to call them, "the Flops..." but didn't want to draw it out.

Of course not, why blow'em up quickly when you can strangle'em lingeringly with disputation?
– Dean

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