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Knicks/Celtics Game 6 all about ‘Melo, New York

May 3, 2013, 3:40 PM EDT

Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Garnett, Jeff Green AP

We know exactly what we are going to get from the Boston Celtics in Game 6 Friday night — they are going to defend hard, Kevin Garnett is going to crash the boards and get his points, Paul Pierce will create looks for himself. They will scrap, that’s what champions on the verge of elimination do.

What are we going to get from the Knicks on offense?

That is the simple question of this series. It’s not about wearing black or what anybody said about Carmelo Anthony‘s wife. That’s the sideshow the Knick’s can’t get caught up in (but have).

New York was strong on offense in the regular season, an offensive rating of 106.6 points per 100 possessions; they shared the ball well and especially during their late-season winning streak moved the ball from strong to weak beautifully.

Boston’s stout defense was always going to be a challenge, but the Knicks have averaged 96.3 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs.

The reason is they have fallen back in love with isolation basketball — which is what the Celtics defense is set up to stop.

In the regular season, the Knicks averaged 15 isolation sets a game (well above the league average of 10), but in this series they have averaged 26 a game (stats via ESPN).

By the time you get to the playoffs against a good defensive team, they are going to take away your first option — whatever the primary goal of your offensive set is will not be easy to get. Nor will the second by the time you are five games into a series — the other team has studied and seen what you want to run. You need to beat good teams with your third, your fourth options.

But the Knicks offense has broken down when it gets past the first couple options, so they throw the ball to Carmelo Anthony or J.R. Smith and ask them to create something. That’s hard to do against Boston.

This is not to say Boston has no say in the outcome tonight — at home they could get a big night from Jeff Green or Jason Terry, giving them enough scoring to overwhelm the Knicks for a night.

But New York has to win one of two to advance. New York is the better team, but it has to be the best version of itself to advance. It has to live up to its promise and not revert to isolation basketball.

We’ll see if they can do that Friday night.

  1. jcmeyer10 - May 3, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    Ohhhhh weee, getting excited for this game tonight. Work is becoming increasingly harder to focus on.

  2. eventhorizon04 - May 3, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    Should be a great game.

    I’d expect the Celtics to defend well and move the ball side to side on offense to try to get favorable looks without a great a point guard. I’d expect Garnett, Pierce, and Terry to be aggressive in particular.

    As for the Knicks, while I’d expect more plays run by Raymond Felton, I still think they’ll still have a heavy dose of Carmelo-isos. However, I’d hope Carmelo makes more of an effort to attack the rim.

    Carmelo came into the playoffs on an incredible hot-streak when it came to mid-range shooting, but those shots are falling anymore. He’s gone 18 of 59 from the field the past 2 games – that’s 30.5%. So I’d expect to see a lot more of Carmelo in the paint.

    • jcmeyer10 - May 3, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      Carmelo will continue to do what he wants to do, so more ISO’s 😀

  3. kb2408 - May 3, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    This series is going to go a long way in defining Mello’s legacy. I still can’t believe he, as leader and best player on that team, allowed the whole “funeral” thing to go down. Just when I think he has turned the corner and joined the ranks of the elites he does something dumb. Not only that, he’s played like crap the last two games. If Boston wins this series it’s going to hunt the Knicks and Mello for a very long time.

  4. saint1997 - May 3, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    Seriously hate Jordon Crawford now

  5. 8man - May 3, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    Celts banged up and a little long in the tooth showed great pride. Down 3-0, they made a series of it. In the end, the Knicks were just the better team. Congratulations to them.

    Go Green!

    • andyhr17 - May 3, 2013 at 10:19 PM

      Well said. for three quarters they were pathetic, but came together at the end to not get blown out. The remaining Big Three members should be gone next year….let the rebuilding begin I guess. It was an enjoyable ride while it lasted (and it lasted about 3 years longer than it was supposed to).

      • Mr. Wright 212 - May 3, 2013 at 11:34 PM

        Bennett Salvatore and Ed Mallow made sure they did not get blown out.

      • andyhr17 - May 4, 2013 at 8:09 AM

        Yeah, no team ever makes a run in a basketball game. Clearly predetermined. You’re pathetic. Just accept the Knicks win and stop blaming everything on the officials that does not go the Knicks way. I would say “act like you’ve been there before”, but it’s beer well over a decade. Have fun playing a team that’s not over the hill.

  6. 8man - May 3, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    A bucket of guts and a handful of green!

    Celtic pride!

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