Felton's fingerprints all over 3-0 lead
April, 27, 2013
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY SportsRaymond Felton has made Knicks fans forget all about Jeremy Lin.BOSTON -- Jeremy who?
That's what most members of the Knick organization must be thinking after watching Raymond Felton play in the postseason.
Felton has been one of the driving forces behind New York's dominance of Boston. On Friday, he poured in 15 points and handed out 10 assists in the Knicks' 14-point win. New York outscored Boston by 12 with Felton on the floor.
"Not only is he making plays for himself, he's been creating things for everybody else out there," Carmelo Anthony said.
Felton's fingerprints have been all over this series. Entering Game 3, the Knicks had outscored the Celtics by an average of 22.8 points per 48 minutes with Felton on the floor but were outscored by 45.1 points per 48 minutes when he wasn't out there.
Jared Wickerham/Getty ImagesFelton dropped 15 points and 10 assists on Friday night.
Doc Rivers said before tip-off Friday that Felton was the "most important" Knick in the first two games of the series.
Said Rivers: "He's just beating us right now."
The Celtic crush continued on Friday night. Felton had four points and four assists in the first quarter as the Knicks jumped out to a five-point lead, quelling the emotional Boston crowd.
In the second quarter, Felton's fingerprints were all over the Knicks' pivotal 9-2 run; he had an assist to Anthony and knocked down a 3 to help extend the Knicks' lead to 16.
"He just ran our ballclub tonight," Mike Woodson said.
The playoffs have been an exclamation point on a strong regular season for Felton. He came to New York in a sign-and-trade after a down year in Portland in which he was skewered for being out of shape. He also came here to replace Jeremy Lin, a fan favorite who left for Houston over the summer after the Knicks declined to match his contract offer from the Rockets.
So Felton was greeted with a tepid response and a dose of skepticism when he first showed up for his second stint with the Knicks. But eight months later, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone upset over the Felton-Lin swap.
Lin is struggling through his first postseason series with the Rockets (5.5 points, 3.5 assists, three turnovers in two games against the Thunder) and Felton is thriving for New York with a 14.5-point, six-assist average in the first round.
A few hours before Game 3 on Friday, Felton stood in the bowels of TD Bank Garden in Boston and reflected on his year with the Knicks.
"This is one of my best years," he said. "This is one of my best years in running a team, for sure."
A year that seems to get better with each playoff game.
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