The words the Knicks mouthed Thursday afternoon were all the right ones. There was an insistence that the focus was solely on basketball, the distractions were for others to ruminate on. The confidence was pure.

But the reality for the Knicks is that no matter what words were spoken, the panic or disappointment the team’s fan base feels is closer to the truth. As the Knicks and Celtics ready to meet tonight in Boston for Game 6 of this opening round series, the pressure that was solely on the Celtics has now shifted to New York.

While a handful of players spoke, Carmelo Anthony was in the back of the locker room receiving treatment on his aching left shoulder — the result of Boston’s Kevin Garnett nearly yanking Anthony’s arm out of the socket in the fourth quarter Wednesday night. Steve Novak was already labeled doubtful for this game with back spasms. Amar’e Stoudemire, shooting on the court with the team, remains on hold.

But more troublesome than injuries is the confidence the Knicks provided the Celtics by letting them creep back into the series. You can point to the elbow thrown by J.R. Smith in the closing minutes of Game 3, a game that brought them within one win of a sweep.

Without Smith, who was suspended one game, the Knicks were beaten in overtime in Boston in Game 4, then with Smith missing his first 10 shots in Game 5, the Celtics cut the lead to 3-2. The Knicks dressed in black for that game, befitting what they promised would be a funeral for the Celtics. But the Celtics are alive — and talking. The teams had to be separated as they left the court in New York on Wednesday, words and shoves exchanged.

Celtics reserve Jordan Crawford jawed with Anthony. He is believed to have resurrected the taunts about Anthony’s wife, La La, that prompted Anthony to pursue Kevin Garnett earlier this season. La La tweeted a response to Crawford on Thursday, saying, "Try again. You on the bench for a reason." But the Knicks still insist that within their locker room, all is calm.