Our high school classmate and friend, Joey Castillo (@joeycastillo79) attended Game 3 of Heat vs Knicks at NYC. This is his experience of playoff basketball at the Garden. I am so jealous. 

Both the hometown Knicks and the visiting Miami Heat started game three of their first round playoff series tentative and a bit sloppy on their plays. This led to a low scoring affair early on.
A lot of this probably had to do with coming to Madison Square Garden for the first time in the postseason.

Between the two teams, the Knicks were clearly the more nervous in the first quarter. They were playing in front of an expectant crowd. No one wants to be swept for the second straight year in the first round--especially when you're the team of the largest media market in the US.

Without Amar’e and Linsanity on the floor, this was supposed to be primarily an encore performance from Melo--the NBA player of the month for April. But alas, it was not to be.

Even before the opening tip off, the intense New York crowd had one target: King James.

From every side of the area, you could hear New Yorkers hurl invectives non-stop at LBJ throughout the game. Some samples I was able to overhear:

“Everyone hates you Lebron!”

“You’re fucking arrogant Lebron!”

These and many other taunts were joined by chants across the Garden of “asshole” whenever Lebron took to the line. All of this--along with some strong D from the Knicks--seemed to unnerve Lebron early on. In fact, the undermanned Knicks held a slim lead at the half.

But this ray of hope was short lived. Melo only managed 22 points, while the NBA player with the highest three-point percentage for the season--Steve Novak--came away with no baskets at all. J.R. Smith had moments of brilliance--and unquestionably the dunk of the night--but this was Lebron’s game.

Dwyane Wade also got into it with some trademark drives and jumpers. After one Wade basket, a lone Miami fan wearing a Wade jersey in my section stood up in jubilation. From behind me, I could hear New Yorkers exclaiming, “Now THAT’s poor upbring!” And they sounded like they meant it!

King James really got going in the second half, scoring 17 points in the fourth. He ended with a game-high of 32 points. Especially near the end of the fourth, it was mainly Lebron who powered the Heat to a 17-point thrashing of the Knicks.

With 3:00 minutes to go, people were already filing for the exits. The slogan for the day that inspired hope--#RiseupNYK--was quickly forgotten. This was replaced with cynicism and the sense that, yet again, this was a season coming to a disappointing close.

Among the celebrities present was rapper Kanye West. But for this night, no interruption--like the one he infamously inflicted on Taylor Swift--was necessary. LBJ has been the undisputed MVP of this season and in this crucial playoff game, he showed every New Yorker why.

My favorite quip from the crowd: Fuck, Lebron's the father!
Yeah, NYC, he was your daddy tonight.
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