Knicks Take 2-0 Lead In Playoff Series With Celtics

Published on: 24th April, 2013

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Anthony vs. Celts in game 2
Knicks Take 2-0 Lead In Playoff Series With Celtics  | read this item

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New York – The New York Knicks took a 2-0 lead in their best of seven series with the Boston Celtics with an 87–71 win tonight in front of a frenzied, sellout Madison Square Garden crowd that saw it’s team take its first 2-0 lead in a playoff series since the first round of the 2000 NBA Playoffs against the Toronto Raptors.

Once again, it was either an incredible display of Knicks team defense that held the Celtics to a puny 23 points in the second half or it was an incredibly bad display of Celtic offense that contributed to the Celtics embarrassing lack of offensive production.

Probably a little bit of both. Either way, it led to a Knicks franchise-record for least points allowed in a half for a playoff game. The previous record had been the 25 points the Celtics scored in Game One of this series.

The Knicks were led by Carmelo Anthony with 34 points, while J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton chipped in with 19 and 16 points, respectively.

The first half was eerily similar tonight to that of the first game, in which the Celtics more than held their own, taking a 48-42 lead into the half. But, like the first game, the Knicks took over in the third quarter by outscoring the Celtics, 32-11. The Celtics then followed up their offensive ineptitude in the fourth quarter with a measly 12 points. Amazing numbers in the modern, high-flying NBA.

Former NBA commissioner, Larry O’Brien must have been rolling over in his grave, watching such offensive futility on the part of the once-proud Celtics.

And, once again, it was the contribution of that young whippersnapper, 35-year old Kenyon Martin who helped turn the tide for the New Yorkers. Martin came off the bench for 23 impactful minutes giving the Knicks the inside presence and board work that kept Boston from getting easy looks at the rim.

Martin pulled down 11 rebounds and blocked four shots, while changing several other shot attempts that the Celtics attempted. The Knick bench outscored the Celtics backups again, this time by a 27-19 margin.

But, it was the Knicks ability to make halftime adjustments, particularly on defense, that changed the game for the home team.

How did the Knicks allow the Celtics to control most of the first half of both both playoff games, only to come out for the third quarter each of the past two games and positively shut down the likes of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jeff Green?

“The game of basketball and playoffs is really about making adjustments,” said Raymond Felton. “Teams are going to scout you and we have to make adjustments at halftime. That is what we did both games.”

If it was all about adjustments, then Doc Rivers, the Celtics head coach, has not found the formula yet that can compete with the Knicks in this series. It’s left him confused.

“It was our poor defense in the third quarter, clearly,” said Rivers. “We gave up threes that we didn’t give up in the series. I don’t know. We didn’t come out with the same mentality we did in the first half. I don’t know why and I need to find that out in the next two days.”

The reality is, Doc does know why but it doesn’t serve him or his team any good to publicize what he’s missing. Since their star point guard, Rajon Rondo injured his knee early in the season, this Celtics team has been rudderless. They simply don’t have a quality point guard who can control Rivers’ offense and set players up for shots in their best spots. In Rondo, Rivers is also missing one of the league’s best on the ball defenders. Rivers made no excuses, however.

The Celtics Miss Rondo More than Rivers Lets On

“We are who we are,” he said. “We can’t apologize for that. That is who we have been left with and I think it is good enough to win. We can play better and we have to play better.”

Rivers is right about one thing. The Celtics will have to play better if they want to stay in the series.  But, he is also wrong about something. It doesn’t appear the Celtics have the weapons, offensively or defensively, to stick with the Knicks in this series. It’s looking more and more like the end is near for these Garnett, Pierce, Rondo Celtics.

 

 

 

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