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Celtics look to Garnett, Knicks look to ball movement to spark offenses in Game 2

Apr 23, 2013, 1:05 PM EST

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

Game 1 of the Celtics vs. Knicks played to form — the Celtics’ physical and aggressive defense made it hard for the Knicks to score, but Boston struggled even more on offense putting up just 8 points in the fourth quarter and falling 85-78.

But for the Celtics there was one real reason to be positive — their defense set the tone for the game. They took the Knicks out of their game, but the Celtics couldn’t capitalize. Boston is counting on its defense to do that again, and to combine that with an offensive spark from Kevin Garnett (and maybe the bench would be nice) to even the series.

The Knicks want their offense to set the tone in Game 2 and are counting on the return of Pablo Prigioni and a healthier Tyson Chandler to make that happen in concert with Carmelo Anthony.

And a win for either side would be huge — if this series heads back to Boston for Game 3 tied 1-1 we could be in for a full seven-game slugfest. If the Knicks go up 2-0 Boston will have to find a way to win 4-of-5 to get the series, and that seems daunting. At best.

Boston is going to try and get their offense by establishing Kevin Garnett early and often — he had 8 points on 4-of-12 shooting in Game 1. In Game 2 the Celtics want to go to him first and work inside-out in the half-court. With the Knicks able to throw the size and defense of Tyson Chandler at KG, Boston is going to need counters — and they are going to need floor-spacing shooters to knock down shots and open the floor up. As a team the Celtics were 5-of-20 from three in Game 1. Paul Pierce was 1-of-7, Jason Terry 0-of-4. Shoot like that again and the results will be the same on the scoreboard.

Terry and Courtney Lee in general have to be better than a combined 0-for-7 for four points. Those two were a mess. Boston isn’t deep, Doc Rivers doesn’t have a lot of options, he needs these guys to play.

Also, the Celtics will need another appearance by the aggressive Jeff Green that had 26 points. If he has a “good game, invisible game” pattern the Celtics are in a lot of trouble. And they already don’t have much martin for error.

The Knicks need to get back to ball movement and floor spacing they had during their win streak near the end of the season.

In Game 1 the Celtics and their aggressive defense did a good job of taking away the Knicks first option off the pick-and-roll — Garnett and other bigs showed out and cut off Raymond Felton’s drives and the team’s recovery and rotations closed off passing lanes.

When their first option went away, the Knicks seemed to have no Plan B. They just gave it to Carmelo Anthony or J.R. Smith and had them create largely in isolation. And Anthony was 7-of-21 shooting in isolation sets, Smith 5-for-14 according to Hoopchalk.

The return of crafty guard Pablo Prigioni from an ankle sprain should help with the ball movement. So should a better conditioned Tyson Chandler (remember he missed 16 of the Knicks last 20 before Game 1, and the rust showed). Chandler is a great roll man, if the Knick set their picks high enough he should create space as he rolls in. And if the ball swings better to shooters the Knicks will have better looks.

We know about the defenses in this series — Boston is always good, the Knicks can play solid ball when Chandler is healthy. What the Knicks had were options in Game 1 — Chandler struggled but Kenyon Martin stepped up in the paint. We’ll see if the Celtics have the options to counter.

  1. Rich Peters - Apr 23, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    Reblogged this on Higher Ground.

  2. misterdreamer119 - Apr 23, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    Celtics are so inconsistant

    • 4thquartermagic - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      What was shocking was the horrible decision making/passes down the stretch. Celtics looked like JV against varsity in the 4th.

  3. bux1022 - Apr 23, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Wow an impartial story about the Knicks from Kurt! Is is raining cats and dogs, wait is that a pig flying over there? It must be a cold day in hell! But I’ll take it!

  4. Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 23, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    They’ve been that way all year, which is startling for a Doc Rivers squad.

    However, the Celtics’ only hope is that EVERYONE shoots poorly again — which is highly unlikely — and would have get career games from Pierce, Green, Garnett AND Terry.

  5. fventricle - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Knicks will come out stronger today…they’ll pick up their defensive intensity and I doubt they would have a poor offensive showing today…they’ll take game 2

  6. cantonbound13 - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    Should be another close, good game. Melo should be the difference maker.

    • 4thquartermagic - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:52 PM

      Great insight here. I too agree that the best player on the court should make an impact in this game.

      Any lotto numbers in that gigantic cantaloupe of yours cantonbound13?

      Your less of a blogger, more of a prophet.

      • jcmeyer10 - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:57 PM

        I mean, we should expect nothing less from some random guy on the internet claiming to be Canton bound.

  7. bradyisbetterthanrodgers - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Over/under 30 shots for melo tonight?

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:28 PM

      Won’t need 30. JR is going to go off tonight.

      • jcmeyer10 - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:58 PM

        You’re going to be a right as Wright is the right way to spell right.

      • Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 24, 2013 at 12:00 AM

        And, as usual — despite the claims to the contrary by you FOOLS — I was right.

    • 4thquartermagic - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:46 PM

      Over. Easy pick there.

      Real question is the over/under on 1 assist.

    • jcmeyer10 - Apr 23, 2013 at 3:57 PM

      Yah, he and JR are volume shooters. I’ll give Melo more credit when he can do it on 20 shots, not 29.

  8. dysraw1 - Apr 23, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    the D. is the C’s main hope in this series, want more players involved in the attack and we should be raising our defensive levels

  9. jcmeyer10 - Apr 23, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    Gotta give Mr Wright props so far.

  10. infectorman - Apr 23, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    melo is a 18 wheeler drivin thru a burger king drive thru at 30 mph, and gets the call EVERY time. what a joke.
    Another offensive called a block against Boston. And he sucks again tonite.
    O ver —> Ra ted !!!!!!

    • theghostofwillisreed - Apr 23, 2013 at 11:15 PM

      if he is overrated then your team shouldn’t be down 2-0, should they? here’s an idea. score more than 25 points in the second half.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 24, 2013 at 12:07 AM

      Getting calls and Melo’s name are polar opposites. Save that talk for Durant, where it is accurate and more applicable.

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