Before Game 4 of the two teams' first-round series on Sunday, Boston Celtics guard Jason Terry reportedly told the New York Knicks, "You're not dancing at my funeral today." After the Celtics beat New York to stave off elimination, Knicks reserve Kenyon Martin said he told his teammates to "wear black" to the arena for Game 5, since "funeral colors" would be appropriate for the Knicks ending Boston's season. His teammates obliged in a display that struck some as classless, others as tacky and most as the needless prodding of an opponent already sure to be plenty motivated by the reality of needing a win to extend its season.
As Grantland's Zach Lowe reminded us, this sartorial choice echoed one made by Terry's own 2010-11 Dallas Mavericks for closeout games, a "secret tradition" adopted in the Dallas locker room during their NBA title run. As ESPN.com's Marc Stein wrote, "'Goin' to a funeral' was the Mavs' inside joke." Of course, this being the Knicks, Martin and Smith, "secret" and "inside" are bridges too far, so the whole world (including the Celtics) knew about the Knicks' wardrobe and the meaning behind it.
As we know, that didn't pan out too well for the Knicks, who managed somewhere between five and eight minutes of solid basketball on a night where Boston executed and defended enough to win, forcing what promised to be a very interesting Game 6 at TD Garden on Friday even before players from both sides engaged in a little postgame skirmish on the MSG floor. After the game, Martin — who got into foul trouble early, finished with five personals and chipped in just two points, two rebounds and an assist in 13 minutes — wasn't interested in discussing his role as the Knicks' funeral director and stylist-to-the-stars: