Monday, April 25, 2011

New York vs. Boston in Postseason Play: By the Numbers

With the Celtics having swept the Knicks, by some method of cheating (that's the only way New England ever beats New York), I decided to see how the Tri-State Area has matched up with that other region in postseason play over the years.

For this piece, I'm including the northern half of Jersey (Devils, post-1977 Nets, post-1976 NFL Giants, post-1984 Jets) and Long Island (Islanders, 1968-77 Nets) with "New York," and Connecticut (east of New Haven), Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine teams with "New England.) Late-season baseball matchups between the Yankees and Red Sox (1904, 1949, 1977, 1986, 2005, 2009) are not counted.


1884 World's Series (yes, it was called that at the time): Providence Grays, National League, defeat New York Metropolitans (who played at the original Polo Grounds at 110th Street & 5th Avenue in Manhattan, and, yes, that was their official name), American Association, 3 games to 0. (From this point forward, instead of "# games to #," I'll print it as "#-#".)

1912 World Series: Boston Red Sox, American League, defeat New York Giants (baseball version), NL, 4-3, with 1 tie.

1916 World Series: Red Sox defeat Brooklyn Dodgers (or "Robins," for then-manager Wilbert Robinson), NL, 4-1.

1927 National Hockey League/Stanley Cup Semifinals: Boston Bruins defeat New York Rangers, 2-0.

1928 Stanley Cup Semifinals: Rangers defeat Bruins, 2-0. (Finally, a New York win over New England. Note that the NHL's New York Americans never played the Bruins in the Playoffs.)

1929 Stanley Cup Finals: Bruins defeat Rangers, 2-0.

1939 Stanley Cup Semifinals: Bruins defeat Rangers, 4-3.

1940 Stanley Cup Semifinals: Rangers defeat Bruins, 4-2.

1943 NCAA Basketball Tournament 3rd Place Game: Dartmouth College (Hanover, New Hampshire) defeats New York University (Greenwich Village, Manhattan, though playing their home games at the old Madison Square Garden at 49th Street & 8th Avenue), 51-49. (I can find no record of a bowl game between New York and New England college football teams. If there was one, I would include it.)

1946 NCAA 3rd Place Game: Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts) defeats NYU, 67-61.

1947 NCAA Regional Final (at the stage that would now be called a National Semifinal): College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, Massachusetts) defeats City College of New York (CCNY, based in upper Manhattan but playing home games at the old Garden), 60-45.

1951 NCAA 2nd Round: St. John's University (based in Jamaica, Queens, playing some home games there and others at the Garden, old and new) defeats University of Connecticut (Storrs, much closer to Boston than to New York), 63-52.

1951 National Basketball Association Eastern Division Semifinals: New York Knickerbockers (hereafter shortened to "Knicks") defeat Boston Celtics, 2-0.

1952 NBA East Semifinals: Knicks defeat Celtics, 2-1.

1953 NBA East Finals: Knicks defeat Celtics, 3-1.

1955 NBA East Semifinals: Celtics defeat Knicks, 2-1.

1956 NCAA 2nd Round: UConn defeats Manhattan College (located not in Manhattan but in The Bronx, but then also playing some home games at the old Garden), 84-75.

1958 Stanley Cup Semifinals: Bruins defeat Rangers, 4-2.

1960 NCAA 2nd Round: NYU defeats UConn, 78-59.

1962 NCAA 2nd Round: University of Massachusetts (Amherst) defeats NYU, 70-50.

1964 NCAA Regional Semifinal: UConn defeats Princeton University (Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey), 52-50.

1965 NCAA Regional Final: Princeton defeats Providence College, 109-69. (This was Princeton's only trip to the Final Four, led by future Knicks legend and U.S. Senator Bill Bradley. They lost a thriller of a Semifinal to Michigan, who then lost the Final to UCLA.)

1967 NCAA Regional Semifinal: Boston College defeats St. John's, 63-62.

1967 NBA East Quarterfinals: Celtics defeat Knicks, 3-1.

1969 NBA East Finals: Celtics defeat Knicks, 4-2.

1970 Stanley Cup Semifinals: Bruins defeat Rangers, 4-2.

1972 NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Knicks defeat Celtics, 4-1.

1972 Stanley Cup Finals: Bruins defeat Rangers, 4-2.

1973 NBA East Finals: Knicks defeat Celtics, 4-3.

1973 Stanley Cup Quarterfinals: Rangers defeat Bruins, 4-1. (The only time the Knicks and Rangers have both beaten Boston in the same postseason. Despite 9 matchups to this point, and some success since for each, the Garden Goons and the Beantown Brats have never played each other in the Playoffs again.)

1974 NBA East Finals: Celtics defeat Knicks, 4-1.

1976 NCAA 2nd round: UConn defeats Hofstra (Hempstead, Long Island, campus adjacent to the Nassau Coliseum), 80-78.

1976 NCAA Regional Semifinal: Rutgers defeats UConn, 93-79. This was the year RU went into its only Final Four undefeated, 31-0, until running into Bobby Knight's undefeated Indiana. A year later, RU would move its home games from the College Avenue Gym on its main campus in New Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey, across the Raritan River to Piscataway and the Rutgers Athletic Center, now named the Louis Brown Athletic Center. Seton Hall, based on South Orange, Essex County, New Jersey, playing some home games on campus and others at the Meadowlands Arena, and now at the Prudential Center in Newark, has made one trip to the Final Four, losing the 1989 Final in overtime to Michigan, but they did not play a New England team along the way. I am not counting games between Tri-State Area teams and New England in the National Invitational Tournament, even though, up until the 1951 point-shaving scandal, the NIT was bigger than the NCAA Tournament.

1978 AL Eastern Division Playoff: New York Yankees defeat Boston Red Sox, single-game format, 5-4.

1980 NCAA 1st Round: Holy Cross defeats Iona College (New Rochelle, Westchester County, New York), 84-78.

1980 NHL Quarterfinals: New York Islanders defeat Bruins, 4-1.

1983 NCAA 2nd Round: BC defeats Princeton, 51-42.

1983 NHL Prince of Wales Conference Finals: Islanders defeat Bruins, 4-2.

1984 NBA East Semifinals: Celtics defeat Knicks, 4-3.

1984 American Football Conference Wild Card Playoff (January 1985): New England Patriots defeat New York Jets, 26-14.

1986 World Series: New York Mets, NL, defeat Red Sox, 4-3. (First time New York beat Boston in any final in 58 years. Of course, the Braves never had to play the Yankees in a World Series until after they moved to Milwaukee, and geography prevents NY/Boston finals in the other sports, though that's only been true in the NHL since the 1982 realignment.)

1988 NBA East Quarterfinals: Celtics defeat Knicks, 3-1.

1988 NHL Wales Finals: Bruins defeat New Jersey Devils, 4-3. (The Jim Schoenfeld/Don Koharski series: "You fat pig, have another doughnut!")

1990 NBA East Quarterfinals: Knicks defeat Celtics, 3-2.

1992 NCAA 1st Round: UMass defeats Fordham, 85-58.

1994 NCAA 1st Round: UConn defeats Rider University (Lawrenceville, Mercer County, New Jersey), 64-49.

1994 NHL Eastern Conference Semifinals: Devils defeat Bruins, 4-2.

1995 NCAA 1st Round: UMass defeats St. Peter's College (Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey), 68-51.

1995 NHL East Quarterfinals: Devils defeat Bruins, 4-1. (In 1997, the Hartford Whalers moved to Raleigh to become the Carolina Hurricanes. Although the Canes have played both the Rangers and the Devils in the Playoffs, they never played a Stanley Cup Playoff series against a New York area team as the Whalers. Nor did they, as the New England Whalers, play the New York Raiders in the World Hockey Association Playoffs.)

1998 NCAA 1st Round: UConn defeats Fairleigh Dickinson University (Teaneck, Bergen County, New Jersey), 93-85. (FDU, were not "Fairly Ridiculous" in that game: They acquitted themselves rather well. Syracuse University, being over 200 miles from Madison Square Garden, does not count as an "area" team. Brooklyn-based Long Island University, a.k.a. LIU, and New Jersey's Seton Hall University do. But neither of those has played a New England team in the NCAAs.)

1999 AL Championship Series: Yankees defeat Red Sox, 4-1.

2002 NBA East Finals: New Jersey Nets defeat Celtics, 4-2.

2003 NHL East Quarterfinals: Devils defeat Bruins, 4-1.

2003 NBA East Semifinals: Nets defeat Celtics, 4-0. (New Jersey matches New York City's 1973 feat of beating Boston in both the NHL and NBA Playoffs. How odd is it that the Celtics have beaten the Knicks in the postseason, but never the Nets -- and not on a one-time fluke rendering them 0-1, either? Note also that the ABA, which once included the Nets, never had a team in Boston or any other New England city.)

2003 ALCS: Yankees defeat Red Sox, 4-3.

2003 Major League Soccer Playoffs: New England Revolution defeat New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now named the Red Bulls), 2-0 and 1-1. (The North American Soccer League's representatives in the areas, the New York Cosmos and the New England Tea Men, never played each other in NASL Playoffs.)

2004 ALCS: Red Sox defeat Yankees, 4-3.

2007 MLS Playoffs: Revs defeat Red Bulls, 0-0 and 1-0.

2007 AFC Wild Card (January 2008): Patriots defeat Jets, 27-16.

2007 National Football League Championship Game (Super Bowl XLII, February 2008): New York Giants (football version) defeat Patriots, 17-14. (This is the only time a team has played both "New York" NFL teams in the Playoffs in the same season.)

2010 AFC Divisional Playoff (January 2011): Jets defeat Patriots, 28-21.

2011 NBA East Quarterfinals: Celtics defeat Knicks, 4-0.


Total Games Won only slightly favors Boston, and was even slighter before the Celtic sweep of the Knicks that just happened: Boston 108, New York 101, with 3 ties (1912 World Series and 2004 and '07 MLS Playoffs).

Total "Series" Won shows much greater favor to the enemy: Boston 36, New York 25. That, however, is not that hard to fix.

Total Finals Won: Boston 6, New York 3. Without major realignment of MLB, the NFL, the NBA and the NHL, this can only be rectified as follows: Another Mets-Red Sox World Series (God help us), another Giants-Patriots Super Bowl, or the MLS Playoff seeding putting either the Red Bulls or the Revs in with the Western Conference teams until they meet in the final, a.k.a. the MLS Cup.

In baseball, New York is 4-3 against Boston (among active teams, Yanks 3-1 and Mets 1-0); in football, 2-3 (Giants 1-0, Jets 1-3); in the NBA, 7-7 (Knicks 5-7, Nets 2-0); in college basketball, 4-14 (and that makes a huge difference); in hockey, 4-9 (Rangers 2-7 -- have I ever mentioned that the Rangers suck? -- Islanders 2-0, Devils 3-1); in soccer, 0-2.

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