Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Knicks [Print without images]

Friday, April 26, 2013
Opening Tip: Can 'Bockers handle Boston?

By Ian Begley

Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.

Today's Burning Question: How will the Knicks handle the atmosphere in Boston?


Jason Kidd believes the Knicks have grown since the regular season. He thinks the team has learned from games against Memphis and Chicago and Boston, when the Knicks became unnerved and let officials and opponents get under their skin.

And Kidd is confident that the Knicks won't let that happen against Kevin Garnett and the Celtics this weekend.

"We’ve grown as a team, mentally and physically. I think Boston is a team that has talkers over there. That’s just part of their game. That’s part of basketball," Kidd said. "Our job is to go out there and play and let our play do all the talking. We know that they’re going to try and get after us mentally."

Kidd and the Knicks will be tested in Boston. The atmosphere at the TD Bank Garden will be intense in Games 3 and 4.

On Friday night, the Celtics are be playing their first home game since the terror attack at the Boston Marathon last week.

"We’ve got to stay composed. It’s going to be a hostile environment. We’ve got to accept that and understand that," Carmelo Anthony said. "We can’t try to focus on anything else but playing basketball."

The Knicks became rattled by refs calls and opponents' taunts in the regular season on a few occasions. They melted down in the third quarter of a loss to Memphis early in the season; three Knicks received technicals in a pivotal run. Three Knicks were ejected in an ugly January loss to the Bulls. And, of course, there was was the Anthony/Garnett incident in January.

Three instances over 82 games isn't significant, but other teams certainly took note. J.R. Smith knows this. He agrees with Kidd though; Smith thinks the Knicks have grown since the regular season. He's not worried about how the team will react in Boston.

"We've just got to keep our composure, play through everything, play through the bickering on the sidelines. If we don't get a call we've got to play through it and we've just got to keep working," Smith said. "We've got to stay steady and stay focused."

Today's Burning Question: How will the Knicks handle the atmosphere in Boston?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.