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NBA Playoffs: Celtics rout Knicks, take 3-0 series lead

Apr 22, 2011, 10:43 PM EDT

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks - Game Three Getty Images

This is why the Celtics are the conference champs until somebody beats them.

Sure, the team hasn’t looked quite right since it traded away Kendrick Perkins for Jeff Green, and their bench is still a complete mess.

Yes, the Celtics gave up the No. 2 seed in the East by finishing their regular season in something of a tailspin.

And yes, the Celtics needed some final-possession heroics in each of their first two playoff games against the Knicks.

But as long as the Celtics are capable of winning close games and putting on performances like the one they put on in Game 3 on Friday night, they are a team that should be feared.

The 113-96 dismantling of the Knicks in Madison Square Garden was a blueprint for how the Celtics want to play basketball. The team’s offense is built around good shooting and great ball movement, and they had both of those working on Friday. Thirty-one of the team’s 42 baskets were assisted, with Rajon Rondo accounting for 20 of those assists. The Celtics also made 14 of 24 three-point attempts, with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce accounting for all the makes. All four of the fantastic four did what they’re capable of doing; Rondo penetrated and made pinpoint pass after pinpoint pass, Allen punished the Knicks from long range, Pierce made shots from all over the floor, and Kevin Garnett was a monster on defense and on the glass. When the Celtics play like this, they’re nearly impossible to beat.

As for the Knicks, they never really had a chance. Amare Stoudemire had a big effort in Game 1, and Carmelo Anthony had a big night in Game 2. The Knicks would have needed both of them to play well in order to have a chance in Game 3.

Anthony was forced into low-percentage looks all game long, and Stoudemire looked a step slow while playing through some back spasms. While the Knicks bench managed to play surprisingly well and outscored the Celtics’ subs 52-13, the Knicks had no chance with the Celtics offense rolling and both Anthony and Stoudemire playing poorly.

The Knicks are likely heading toward four-and-done, which is a shame considering how close the first two games of this series were and how the team has given New York fans something to believe in all year long. Still, you only get so many chances to pull off an upset over a team as good as Boston, and the Knicks appear to have blown theirs already.

Hopefully, the Knicks can get one playoff win in front of their home-court fans before the season ends; if not, they have a lot to look forward to next season.

  1. dysraw1 - Apr 22, 2011 at 11:00 PM

    boy am i pisssst u mean to tell me the hawks got more nuts than my dogs, what a pitiful showing

    • andyhr17 - Apr 22, 2011 at 11:27 PM

      ….Knicks got ‘em just where they want ‘em…..

      Bring out the brooms. Onto round two.

  2. chitownbulls - Apr 23, 2011 at 9:44 AM

    You know, I saw this coming… I think the excitement that the Knicks were back in the playoffs and all the hoopla that followed made me think that the Knicks would actually put up a fight…

    • zackd2 - Apr 23, 2011 at 10:09 AM

      Did you see the Billups & Amare injuries coming too?

    • mornelithe - Apr 23, 2011 at 12:13 PM

      That’s kind of unfair, they definitely put up a fight in Game 1-2…though, the Celtics were also contributing to how close those games came out, through lack of playoff-level performances. Game 3 was a blowout, but I certainly haven’t forgotten what the Knicks did on the Celtics home court, no less.

  3. jimeejohnson - Apr 23, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    Knicks put up a fight in Boston. But they folded on their home court thanks to injuries and a ball hog named Carmelo. Brooms are at the ready.

    • LPad - Apr 23, 2011 at 8:26 PM

      Yep, Knicks are definitely better off letting people like Turiaf, BWalker, TDouglas shoot instead of that ballhog, lol.

  4. mornelithe - Apr 23, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    Call me crazy, but to me it looked like the only shot the Knicks had at winning this series was Boston playing as miserably as they did in the first 2 games. Game 3…with them actually shooting decently, the Knicks didn’t appear to have a chance.

    Though, to be fair, Stoudemire(?) and Anthony both weren’t playing at their best, and with Billups out they were definitely lacking some of their more stellar players. The Celtics still doubled up on Anthony whenever he had the ball, making any shot he took of extremely high difficulty.

    It really looks like only the Celtics can beat the Celtics here. Looking forward to Round 2 v The Heat!

    • andyhr17 - Apr 23, 2011 at 2:25 PM

      Why is it that whenever a Celtics fan brings up that “If Perkins was healthy for game 7″ it leads to non-stop mocking a year later about it….yet all I hear about in this series is “Well, Billups and Amare aren’t 100%…”

      • mornelithe - Apr 23, 2011 at 2:45 PM

        Well, if you look at it objectively, most people shrug off any post-loss threads/comments like that, as sour grapes. Whether that was their intent or not, the assumption is undoubtedly going to be that you’re making excuses for a loss.

        On the other hand, those are often not excuses…not exactly. Not that there’s anything we can do about it, but it really does suck that we as fans, hardly ever get to see our teams at 100% in the playoffs. Be it injury, trading, empty gas tanks, whatever the case may be… and it’s a huge letdown to get into the playoffs, or worse yet the Title games, to be down a key, pivotal player. And then watch as that weakness gets repeatedly exploited. The ‘what if’ factor really does dig at some people.

        They’re valid points of discussion, certainly. I’m not entirely sure that there’s a solution however. There’s really no way to avoid injury, streaks of poor performance etc.., so it’s all part of the gamble for the title really.

      • mornelithe - Apr 23, 2011 at 2:52 PM

        Not that I believe the outcome would be any different if the teams were at 100% either, mind you. I believe the games themselves, would be so much better if that were the case. Perfect world scenario though, I know. It rarely ever works out the way we want it to.

      • zackd2 - Apr 24, 2011 at 11:57 AM

        Because Celtic fans are pumping their chests about beating Melo + Fields/Turiaf/Williams/Walker like it’s some kind of accomplishment.

        And sorry but Billups + Amare >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Perkins

  5. frankvzappa - Apr 23, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    Knicks fans are so stupid they probably still think its a rivalry…what is that i see in the distance? looks like a big ole green banner 18!

    • mornelithe - Apr 23, 2011 at 2:50 PM

      To be perfectly honest, I think it was really the media that was trying to rekindle the rivalry hype. People have been talking about the Knicks as serious contenders for awhile now, and stimulating that rivalry will…well, it’ll sell merchandise and tickets certainly. American’s are a patriotic bunch, and aren’t afraid to show it. That translates very well into hometown team vs hometown team.

      As far as I saw in either Garden, the fans, while extremely noisy, generally seemed to respect the other players…generally. Not like a Red Sox v Yankees game, those can deteriorate amongst the fans.

      • andyhr17 - Apr 23, 2011 at 4:48 PM

        The rivalry is definitely starting to heat up again. That’s for sure. It’s going to take a little while longer though until it’s a real “rivalry” again. It would be good for the game if the Celtics stayed the way they are and the Knicks kept improving.

  6. passerby23 - Apr 23, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    Sign Chris Paul, let Chauncey walk, and add another big and maybe a shooter and the Knicks are a contender. They should be happy they made the playoffs and build on it. It’s been 10 years.

    As for the Celtics, I do worry about their bench. A somewhat contributing Shaq would add a lot. I’ve been disappointed with Troy Murphy.

  7. 00maltliquor - Apr 23, 2011 at 5:12 PM

    I hate to say this, but Rajon Rondo so far is doing better in the playoffs then anyone, including Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard or whoever you think is doing good. His team is 3-0, and averaging 18.3 PPG, 12.0 AST, and 8.0 REB. Really, the Celtics only go as far as he takes them, point blank.

  8. ocgunslinger - Apr 23, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    Knicks are sort of a poor mans Heat team. Both have two quality players (Amare and Chauncey/ Labrone and Wade) plus one over rated player ( Melo / Bosh) and a group of so- so players. Problem is the drop off after the first two is substantial. I wish the Knicks luck.

    • zackd2 - Apr 24, 2011 at 11:56 AM

      Melo dropped 47 against the best defensive team in the league in a playoff game when he was surrounded by 4 scrubs, yet he’s overrated?

      • mornelithe - Apr 25, 2011 at 11:41 AM

        And they still lost. One person can’t carry a team.

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