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Celtics win three quarters, Knicks own fourth to take Game 1

Apr 20, 2013, 6:35 PM EDT

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony reacts after hitting a three-point shot against the Boston Celtics in the first quarter of Game 1 of their NBA Eastern Conference Quarterfinals basketball playoff series in New York Reuters

Basketball is about how you adapt and how you finish.

The first 24 minutes Saturday’s Game 1 between Boston and New York went exactly how the Celtics want this first round series to unfold — Boston shot 53.6 overall and 4-10 from three, Jeff Green had 20 points on 10 shots, Avery Bradley had 11 points, and their defense disrupted New York and forced them into isolation sets.

While the Celtics offense went cold in the third, their defense still forced the Knicks to be shoot jumpers (contested ones at that), and after 36 minutes Boston was up three. The Celtics looked like they could steal one in New York.

Then in the fourth quarter the Knicks defense stepped up and the Celtics stayed ice cold — Boston shot 3-of-11 with eight turnovers in the quarter. Carmelo Anthony hit 4-of-5 in the fourth to have 8 of his 36 points and the Knicks had four key offensive rebounds.

The result is a huge 85-78 win for New York, putting them up 1-0 in the series. Game 2 is Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

This is a loss Boston is going to kick themselves for — it was a winnable game where they defended and got points from unexpected sources, but their lack of depth and inability generate offense did them in.

Boston had 25 points on 25.9 percent shooting in the second half (credit New York’s defense for some of that, but not all). For the game Boston’s bench was 0-of-7 shooting with 4 points. Jason Terry was a disaster at both ends (0-for-5 shooting with a lot of missed defensive assignments) but Doc Rivers had to play him key minutes down the stretch because he did not have better options.

In a lot of ways this game played out as we expect this series to go.

We saw the gritty Celtics’ defense soak up space and make it difficult for the Knicks shooters — New York as a team shot 40.9 percent for the game. Anthony shot 13-of-29 and saw Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley crowd him and make life difficult. The refs were letting them play in this game and that was to Boston’s advantage as their defense could get physical.

Still, there were stretches when there was nothing Boston could do to stop ‘Melo — he started 4-of-4 because they gave him too much room. He finished the game hitting 4-of-5 in the fourth even with a hand in his face at times.

The Knicks got 15 points from J.R. Smith (but on 19 shots) and some key plays down the stretch from Jason Kidd with steals and offensive rebounds. They showed some poise at home that Boston could just not match.

Jeff Green finished the game with 26 points (he had just six after halftime as he settled and stopped trying to get to the rim) and Paul Pierce added 21. Kevin Garnett shot 4-of-12 on the night but had nine rebounds. However, Boston was 1-of-10 from three in the second half and Pierce and Terry were a combined 1-of-11 from three for the game. Among the things Boston needs in this series is their three pointers to fall.

Doc Rivers has adjustments to make, the problem is without Rajon Rondo, with a shallow bench, his options are limited. The Celtics need guys like Courtney Lee to step up to have any shot in this series — and they can’t have extended dry spells on offense.

For the Knicks, expect better defense out of them in Game 2, they played only a half of defense and got away with it in Game 1. The Knicks need more production out of Tyson Chandler, who showed the effects of the bulging disc in his neck with zero shot attempts and 5 rebounds. Kenyon Martin stepped up in his place with 10 points and 9 rebounds.

And that may be the ultimate difference in this series — Mike Woodson has depth and options that work for the Knicks, while the play of the Celtics bench ties Doc Rivers’ hands.

  1. money2long - Apr 20, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    the kenyon martin signing was a blessing to new york. thank goodness the celtics didn’t sign him first !

    • stoudemelo - Apr 20, 2013 at 7:54 PM

      The celtics got cold feet and he’s making them pay for it.

      • fanofevilempire - Apr 20, 2013 at 8:42 PM

        K-Mart will turn out to be a savior, his offense was good and his defense
        and his ability bang is what will be the biggest addition.
        Historic lock down defense in the 4th qtr. against a team known for their defensive
        ability. The Knickerbockers did what we expect, win at home, Woody will have to have
        a defensive game plan again as Doc is a good coach and will make adjustments
        to the Knickerbockers but I have faith a more accurate JR in game 2. and better offensive
        game from Knickerbockers.

        Nice to win and lead a playoff series again.

  2. thenew013 - Apr 20, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    Man I love playoff basketball. Melo is unguardable (we already knew that). Props to everyone involved in the game though b/c they were playin hard and it was a good game. I am really glad I watched the whole thing.

  3. BigBeachBall - Apr 20, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    Was expecting a gentlemans loss…

  4. kanemoney - Apr 20, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    Martin and chandler will be the difference in the series. We know what melo, smith, pierce and Garnett bring.

    Will they be able to handle Indiana? Probably not.

    • money2long - Apr 20, 2013 at 9:15 PM

      pacers don’t want it with the knicks. but let me not look ahead. ny is focusing on the celtics right now

      • Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 20, 2013 at 9:39 PM

        Pacers are just like Boston. Cannot score enough, no matter how (overrated) their defense plays.

  5. bux1022 - Apr 20, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    We need Felton to make a damn layup! Felton can out play the trio of lee, terry, and bradley when he wants to. We already know what we are going to get from Chandler, he just has to healthy. Kmart did for the clips last season in the playoffs. Ray ray is the x-factor! Ray shows some consistency and we WILL be playing for the Eastern Conference Champioship!

  6. Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 20, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    Shot poorly all game, too much switching, refs tried to keep them in it, and still won. I’ll take it.

    • pantsfreezone - Apr 21, 2013 at 4:11 PM

      You are the dumbest basketball fan ever. Even for a Knick fan you are terminally stupid.

  7. lakerluver - Apr 20, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    Melo has never looked better. Dude is a scoring machine. He is a joy to watch play the game right now. Inside…outside, it doesn’t matter.

  8. rickyspanish - Apr 20, 2013 at 10:49 PM

    Mr. Wright 212

    Even in victory your whining persists.

    • cantonbound13 - Apr 21, 2013 at 9:23 AM

      I think Dwhine Wade hacked his account Ricky.

  9. Rich Peters - Apr 20, 2013 at 11:17 PM

    Reblogged this on Higher Ground.

  10. badintent - Apr 21, 2013 at 3:43 AM

    Did you see Spike ? He was Honey Nutting KG all game . Betcha he tells Pierce he chose Ray Allen over Paul for his flix “he got Game” cause Ray is prettier.

    • mazblast - Apr 21, 2013 at 1:09 PM

      Spike Lee was barely relevant in the 80s and 90s. The last time he was prominent was when he was mouthing off at Reggie Miller and Miller was sinking three after three to shut him up. Now he’s just some old guy who makes lousy movies, plays on white guilt, and tries to get face time during ballgames to support his big ego and fading “career”. Pathetic.

      • badintent - Apr 22, 2013 at 2:58 AM

        Didn’t catch you sitting in the first row seats with him. Guess that Wal Mart job doesn’t cover the $40K a season price. That makes you irelevant too.

  11. dysraw1 - Apr 21, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Ray played well enough 13 & 6, wanted more pick & rolls with Tyson but theC’s were playing that pretty good, thank goodness they don’t have Rondo. he’s what was lacking yesterday.note J Kidd has only begone still expect bigger things from him in this series

  12. mazblast - Apr 21, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    The Celtics had the game unfold pretty much the way they wanted and needed and still were up only three after three quarters. I knew they were in trouble right then.

    That fourth quarter–Eight points in a whole quarter of playoff basketball?

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