Knicks Go Up 1-0 With Playoff Win Over Celts

Published on: 20th April, 2013


Boston Celtics v New York Knicks - Game One
Knicks Go Up 1-0 With Playoff Win Over Celts

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20: Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks drives against Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2013 NBA Playoffs on April 20, 2013 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)  | read this item

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New York – Carmelo Anthony scored 36 points today in leading the New York Knicks to an 85-78 win over the Boston Celtics in the first game of the opening round of the NBA playoffs. But, it was two of the oldest guys on the team, Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin, who turned the tide in the Knicks favor when the game looked like it could go either way.

Knicks coach Mike Woodson showed his hand completely in this game one win as to who he’s going to put the most trust in by the amount of minutes he played Kidd and Martin in the most important game of the year.

Kidd, who averaged 26 minutes per game during the season, was kept on the floor for 35 minutes today while Martin, out for over a week with a sprained ankle, played more minutes at center than starting center, Tyson Chandler, logging 28 today, above his season average of 23.





Anthony Led Knicks With 36 Points

“This was the whole reason for bringing them on board,” Woodson said. “They have been in enough systems. Kidd has won pretty much everywhere he has been. Kenyon has been on some winning teams but not where he won the big one. To me, it is a plus to have veteran guys. That is no knock on the young kids. To have these veteran guys step up and still make a contribution to your team is major, I think.”

Both Kidd and Martin were instrumental in leading the Knicks defense to holding the Celtics to an unbelievable 25 points in the entire second half.

“Jason has been doing it all season,” said Woodson. “What can you say, loose balls, strips and he keeps the ball alive. He seems to be in the right place at the right time.”

Martin, picked up by the Knicks off the scrap heap as a free agent late in the season when no other teams seemed to want to give him a chance, has been a revelation for the Knicks. Today, he scored 10 points and pulled down nine rebounds but more than any statistic can measure, he is incredibly active on defense, helping and rotating all over the floor.

“This is what I’m here for, backing up Tyson Chandler, so he doesn’t have to play 35 or 40 minutes a night,” said Martin. “He gave us what he had and so did I. It is about being a team. He doesn’t have to carry the load alone. I have a lot of playoff experience.”

Of course, for those of you old enough to remember, Kidd and Martin have been through these playoff wars together when they led the then-New Jersey Nets to two consecutive appearances in the NBA championship series, against the Lakers and the Spurs. The Nets had never gotten a sniff of playoff success prior to Kidd and Martin joining the team and haven’t been contenders since the duo left.

“It is a great feeling from where I started,” said Martin. “For Jason and me to be back here again – we are going to try to make this work.”

“He is a guy who leaves it all out there,” Felton said about Kidd. “His steals, his deflections, he is always in the mix of something. He has been great for us all year.”

“Kenyon did a great job especially not playing the last few games of the regular season,” said J.R. Smith. “That is what we expect from him. He is huge on defense and making those plays on offense.”

“Our team defense was better,” said Raymond Felton. “We were more aggressive. We picked it up and really got into those guys. Everybody was rotating in the right places.”

Neither team played defense especially efficiently in the first half but the Celtics were in pretty good shape, going into the half with a 53-49 lead. The Knicks were not shooting well, as Carmelo Anthony needed 19 shots to score just 15 points.

Defensively, the Knicks were not an efficient group, either, in that first half.

“We gave up too many layups, early,” said Smith. “Avery Bradley was able to get a lot of back-door cuts. We have to put that to a halt. We were also letting them pass the ball pretty much wherever they wanted in the first half.”

The second half was a completely different story for both teams. The 25 points the Knicks allowed in the second half tied the lowest half point total by an opponent in New York’s playoff history.

Boston shot 3 of 11 in the fourth quarter, totally only eight points in the last 12 minutes of the game.

“We had some just bad turnovers tonight,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “If we had those turnovers in any game we probably should lose the game and we did. We were making post passes from the other side of the floor. I mean, those are just not good passes.”

Kevin Garnett had eight points and nine rebounds but shot only 4 of 12 from the field. Jason Terry, another veteran on a young Celtics team, missed all five shots off the bench.

The other important stat the Knicks can hang their hat on for this series is the strength of their bench versus the Celtics’ bench. Today, the Knicks bench outscored the Celtics, 33-4.

The Knicks took a huge step in franchise history today in defeating the Celtics by taking a 1-0 lead. It was the first time since 2001, when they won the first game against the Toronto Raptors that they’ve led 1-0 in a playoff series.

“It’s big to win game one,” said Raymond Felton. “In the playoffs, the first game is always one of the biggest games especially when you’re home.”









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