Ex-Knicks GM Donnie Walsh likes New York's chances in a potential Eastern Conference finals showdown with the Miami Heat.
"I think that that’s a hell of a series, Miami and New York, I couldn’t pick it, I couldn’t," Walsh said Sunday before the Knicks-Pacers game.
Of course, Walsh's Pacers could prevent the Knicks from reaching the conference finals.
Indiana and New York could meet in the second round if both teams win their first-round matchup.
But if the Knicks advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, Walsh thinks they have a legitimate chance to dethrone the defending champs.
"I do. Look, I'm not the oracle here, all right? But I think both teams are really good," he said. "You can sit down and try to dissect it, but when they play I think either one of them could win, and I think (the Knicks) will think that way, that’s why they’ll go at each other as hard as they can."
The Knicks have beaten the Heat in three of four regular season matchups. One of the reasons for their success against Miami has been Carmelo Anthony. Anthony's been healthy for three of the four matchups and poured in 50 points against the Heat earlier this month.
Walsh was the Knicks' president and GM when the team traded four starters to land Anthony in Feb. 2011.
"I just think this guy is so good, you’re never going to get a chance to get a guy like this," Walsh said. "As much as I didn’t want to give up the players I did, I thought we should do it."
Walsh left his post with the Knicks the summer following the 2010-11 season. He is the Pacers' president.
He has done a remarkable job putting together the Pacers, a well-balanced young team that can contend with any outfit in the Eastern Conference.
Walsh has been impressed by the Knicks, and by Anthony in particular.
He credited the Knicks' star forward for being in top condition this season. He also credited Knicks GM Glen Grunwald for surrounding Anthony with a stellar supporting cast.
"He’s got better players around him, he’s got a lot of veterans, really savvy guys ... I love the way they they’re playing, I do, and I love the way we’re playing," Walsh said.
On Anthony, he added: "The thing I always knew he could do is defend and rebound and pass, and he’s been doing those things (this year). But you've got to look at it from a unique point of view: if you can score the way he does and you don’t have guys on the team that you’re sure can make the shot, then you're probably going to shoot it, and now (plays more unselfishly)."
On the possibility of an Indiana-New York series, Walsh was diplomatic.
"I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but if it does, we’ll be proud to be at that level," he said. "... I think we’re young, they’re more seasoned, they know what they’re doing at this time of the year, for us, this will be a good experience no matter which way it goes."
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