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After giving back most of a 26-point lead, Knicks get Game 6 victory to close out Celtics

May 3, 2013, 11:06 PM EDT

Knicks' Anthony celebrates after hitting a shot against Celtics during the fourth quarter of Game 6 of their NBA Eastern Conference semifinal playoff basketball series in Boston Reuters

In each of the first three games of the series between the Knicks and the Celtics, all of which were New York victories, Boston managed to put together a horrific half of offensive basketball.

The trend that subsided for two games returned for Game 6 back in Boston, and that was more than enough for the Knicks to come away with an 88-80 victory that closed out the Celtics, and advanced New York to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since the 2000 season.

Boston scored 25 points in the second half of Game 1, 23 points in the second half of Game 2, and 31 points in the first half of Game 3. In an elimination game at home, after battling back into the series with two straight victories, the Celtics looked gassed in this one from the start, and managed just 10 first quarter points, on the way to a dismal 27 by halftime.

The Celtics just couldn’t get any easy looks, and couldn’t get whatever open looks they did have to fall. Paul Pierce looked especially drained after playing more than 44 minutes in Game 5 two nights earlier, and finished 4-of-18 from the field, and only 1-of-9 from three-point distance.

The Knicks were unable to pull away until late in the third, however, thanks to a lack of fluidity on the offensive end and plenty of missed shots of their own. New York led by 12 at the half, but was able to push its lead to 20 at the end of three thanks to Boston’s continued inability to score.

New York’s lead reached 26 points at 75-49 with 9:49 to play in the fourth, before the Celtics, essentially out of nowhere, put together a furious rally to try to keep their season alive.

Boston went on a monstrous 20-0 run over the next four minutes to cut the Knicks’ lead all the way back down to six. New York didn’t do themselves any favors during that stretch, settling for isolation basketball on virtually every possession, while forcing contested long jump shots out of rhythm or throwing up wild attempts on heavily-defended drives to the basket.

The Celtics were aggressive defensively, and got out in transition for some fast break opportunities. Avery Bradley was especially key during the run, and scored 10 fourth quarter points while forcing the action by coming up with three steals in the period.

Eventually, the Knicks stabilized, but not before the Celtics cut it to four with 3:32 remaining on a steal and breakaway dunk from Bradley. Carmelo Anthony then scored five straight, followed by an and-one layup from J.R. Smith that put the Knicks back up by 12, and ended the drama for the evening.

Of course the Celtics deserve plenty of credit for making this a series after falling behind three games to none, and for refusing to say die when things were at their bleakest in the fourth quarter of what was ultimately their final game of the season.

But the Knicks were their own worst enemy in this series. J.R. Smith throwing the elbow near the end of Game 3 that got him suspended gave Boston life against an undermanned opponent in Game 4, and then Smith’s overconfidence combined with Kenyon Martin‘s effort to have the whole team wear black for some funeral nonsense had New York mentally unprepared for the close out opportunity at home in Game 5.

The Knicks were able to take advantage of the Celtics’ inability to score for long stretches in this series to ultimately win it, but things shouldn’t have been this close. Now that they’ve advanced in the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, perhaps they’ll be more focused against the Pacers in their second round series, which is set to begin on Sunday.

  1. mungman69 - May 4, 2013 at 4:42 AM

    The Knicks better stop worrying about Miami and start worrying about Indy.

  2. cantonbound13 - May 4, 2013 at 5:28 AM

    Where’s 72 & the other bandwagoners? I know they were watching so they could post their hate on here. Where are the haters on a day where Melo gets 5 assists & hits clutch shots to close out the series? Silent & retreating with their tail between their legs like the cowards they are! We’re coming for you bandwagoners!

  3. cantonbound13 - May 4, 2013 at 5:30 AM

    The curse of Isiah has been lifted!

    • rickyspanish - May 4, 2013 at 6:34 AM

      It has to feel good to finally see your team win a playoff series. I didn’t watch much of the Knicks/Celtics games because I thought New York was going to slaughter Boston, but I will be watching them against Indiana. That series should be way more competitive. Let the second round commence! ¡Viva los playoffs!

      • cantonbound13 - May 4, 2013 at 9:38 AM

        Ricky, you have no idea how frustrating the last 10 years have been. Watching Isiah destroy this franchise was one of the lowest moments ever. As a Heat fan don’t take for granted having a smart guy in Pat Riley & a quality star in LeBron.

  4. mungman69 - May 4, 2013 at 6:46 AM

    The Knicks scorers had better keep scoring. They don’t play much D. The Celtics are old with no point guard. Good fight Celtics.

    • badintent - May 4, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      They held the Celtics to below 80 points in 3 games. What the heck is your definition of Defense. ??Under 50 points. ??Son, this ain;t football.It ain’t EA NBA or XBox crap , IT ‘S A BIG BOY GAME.GET REAL !
      LOPEZ GONNA DESTORY Spice Bosh Soft.

      • badintent - May 7, 2013 at 3:33 AM

        My Bad. Noah destroyed Posh Bosh, not Lopez

  5. eboneseagles - May 4, 2013 at 7:26 AM

    I’m happy they won the series and all, but they have to play better. For some reason throughout the season they have been able to just shut the door on teams. Hell I bet everyone in the building was expecting the celtics to win when it was a six point game. The knicks consistently get huge leads and proceed to throw it away, you can’t let a team like Miami back into the game because they will beat you.

    On another note I’d like to say I respect the celtics blah blah blah and all that but I don’t. I’m proud it’s our division now and that everyone will struggle to topple us. Good effort I guess I’ll say…

    • faulkner22 - May 4, 2013 at 9:54 AM

      “We’re a good team because everyone else in the division really sucks”

      That’s cute.

      Enjoy being swept by the Heat.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - May 4, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      You know, you won’t be less of a man had you recognized with a token of respect the way the Celtics played your Knicks.

      If you want to consider your team the best there is, then take pride in recognizing the greatness of the teams that stood your way.

      • eboneseagles - May 4, 2013 at 3:52 PM

        Lol come on, people picked the celtics to win the series, win the division at the beginning of the year and compete for a title. Can you people stop acting like its some type of prideful amazing accomplishment that they won 2 games in a series… Same people saying the lakers injuries were the only reason they sucked.

  6. soopreme - May 4, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    This series should remove all doubt as to the value of Rhondo who I believe is arguably the best point guard in the league.
    If Rhondo had played this series, it would have been over in 5 possibly a sweep.
    Rhondo was really masking all of the weaknesses on this team.
    Woe to the idiot who was saying this team was better without Rhondo.

    • brutl - May 4, 2013 at 10:41 AM

      Rondo and Hondo are two totally different players. Looks like you combined the two. If this is intentional, please stop. Rondo will never be considered in Havliceks league

      • infectorman - May 4, 2013 at 11:19 AM

        right, because you have crystal ball…

      • tuberippin - May 4, 2013 at 12:46 PM

        ^Are you being serious right now? John Havlicek is one of the 50 greatest NBA players to ever play the game. Rondo is good but nowhere near that level yet, and we don’t know what he’ll do when he doesn’t have multiple future Hall-of-Fame players to pass the ball to, either.

    • eboneseagles - May 4, 2013 at 3:54 PM

      Rondo plays and the knicks still win, you idiots forget the celtics were a .500 team even with Rondo. Pathetic.

  7. halfbaht - May 4, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    Well done to the Knicks. It was an enjoyable series. But if you play like that against Indiana you’re dead in the water, wouldn’t be worrying about Miami! You nearly got done by my C’s and we haven’t had a decent team all year! Barely made the playoffs. Never been so proud to be a Celtic fan as I have been this season will the true Celtic pride they’ve shown. Here’s hoping that KG and the truth are back again next year. Props too all the lakers fans for the respect! Takes a great team to acknowledge another.

  8. acdc363 - May 4, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    Thank god that turned out to be a decent series! Now keep your heads on straight Knicks and take care of business! You’re getting my parents back into bball lol

  9. anythingbutyanks - May 4, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Really not important, but I can’t resist commenting since I’ve seen/heard this several times of late: why is it that teams or individuals now refuse to “say” die instead of teams or individuals just refusing to die? I don’t know why it changed, but the “new” version doesn’t even make sense to me.

  10. infectorman - May 4, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    carmelo late 3 iced the game.

    For all his weak play and horrible shooting throughout this series, he came thru in the end.

    The Knicks should be better for playing in a series like this. We will see…
    Congrats Knicks

    • elcapitanfiscal - May 4, 2013 at 8:40 PM

      Melo came through? Ha one late three in this game doesnt take away the terrible series he had

      His amount of shots was higher than his amount of pts a couple games without his ft attempts haha

  11. dysraw1 - May 4, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    well my wife is back on board, temporarily.the heart attack crew came through. i just hope we got enough left to give the pacers some problems Ray Felton was surprisingly the best player in the series. Tyson is gonna have to be the man in this if the Knick want this series. by the way if anyone ever considered Celtic pride to be something unreal now you just how real it is.

  12. jimeejohnson - May 4, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Your comment reflects a higher level of understanding and respect. Wishing the NY Knicks the best and dedicating my next lobstah roll to you all. It’ll have avocado on it in memory of both Los Angeles teams.

    • badintent - May 4, 2013 at 3:48 PM

      Thanks for the congrats, I’ll roll a big fat one for you…………………………… with my sushi wrapper and call it the “Dynamite Jimee Roll.”

  13. paulhargis53 - May 7, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    I lost the bet to malt, not lakerluver.
    Lakerluver lost a bet to me, but is posting still under that name and kb2408.

    lakerluver is supposed to be gone from this site for good.

    malt, everytime I post under kobeluver, my posts won’t show up….I’m sorry

    kobeluver

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