Knicks Taking It To The Celtics

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BOSTON –
This series might be more about the feebleness of the Boston Celtics, how they can barely run their offense against a team that ranked 16th defensively in the regular season, how they can’t hold onto the ball, and how they can’t make open shots when they get them.

When 6-foot-9 Jeff Green gets double-teamed by two point guards and can’t do anything but fall backwards and weakly flail the ball into the backcourt, you know the Celtics just can’t compete. And there were plenty of plays like that in the New York Knicks’ 90-76 victory in Game 3 on Friday.

But make no mistake about it. The Knicks have taken it to the Celtics in this series. They’ve earned their 3-0 lead and the opportunity to complete the sweep on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, ABC).

Game 3, the first one at home, is supposed to be the game the underdog wins when they’re not completely outmatched. The Celtics, even without Rajon Rondo, weren’t exactly chumps this season. They had a top-six defense, a strong record at the TD Garden, and played the Knicks even in the two regular season meetings in which Kevin Garnett played. This squad of vets always has its pride and effort, and on this night, it had a little more emotion, playing its first home game since the Boston Marathon tragedy.

But guess what? The Celtics are completely outmatched. The Knicks are just a much better team. They were always better offensively, and they’ve now proven that they’re better defensively when push comes to shove.

“I thought we were a team that matched up really well with the Knicks,” Paul Pierce said. “I though we played them pretty good throughout the season. We lost a couple of close ones, but I didn’t expect this coming in. I knew this would probably be a long series, being the way we matched up. So I am surprised we’re down 0-3 right now.”

The Celtics’ offense did have an opportunity early on Friday to break through. They got to the basket and got open looks on the perimeter in the opening minutes. But the shots just didn’t go in.

The Knicks took advantage and, on this night, didn’t wait until the second half to put their foot on the gas. With Boston still struggling to score, New York clearly saw the opportunity to (essentially) put the series away. A 21-6 run just before halftime put the Celtics in an 18-point hole that they could never come close to digging out of.

After the Celtics missed those easy shots early, the Knicks didn’t let them recover. They turned up the defensive pressure, and in this game, the turnovers (18 of them) were more about New York’s pressure than Boston’s execution.

“Our goal was to not even let them believe they have a shot,” J.R. Smith said. “And I think we did a great job at that, and the way we got to it, defense and moving the ball.”

This is what great teams do. They don’t just hold serve. They break. They go into one of the toughest buildings to play in, play hard-nosed, aggressive defense, and execute offensively in a hostile environment.

Friday morning, Knicks coach Mike Woodson said he was “anxious” to see how his team would react in its first road playoff game. He got his answer, loud and clear.

The Knicks had a handful of quality road wins in the regular season, but this was a breakthrough, a performance to really build on going forward, a game to build trust between teammates who want to know they can count on each other to come through in difficult situations.

“The beauty about our team is that somebody has always stepped up when we needed it,” Woodson said afterward. “To me, that’s the sign of a team that’s committed, that’s together, and that’s trying to do one thing, win a title.”

Nothing on the Knicks’ side of the Game 3 boxscore stands out. Carmelo Anthony (26 points on 12-for-25 shooting) and Smith (15 on 6-for-12) were the leading scorers and each played a big role in the second-quarter run. Raymond Felton (15 points and 10 assists) continued to break the Boston defense down with the pick-and-roll.

But contributions came from everywhere. And it was really Pablo Prigioni who set the tone, getting his hands on balls defensively and knocking down three 3-pointers in the first quarter to help his team start to build an offensive rhythm.

And with Steve Novak finally knocking down a couple of 3s, everyone in the Knicks’ rotation is playing well. The Celtics will surely put up a fight on Sunday, but the Knicks look ready to close this series out and move on.

We knew they had the talent in this series. And now it’s clear that they have the toughness too.

39 Comments

  1. jonas says:

    pretty sure indiana will beat ny in 2nd round? in ur dreams.lol

  2. Celtics will stay contenders for years to come because they play & win fair & square with out extra outside the team help-Contenders for years to come so all you haters who don’t watch bball with out bias will still have the Celts to worry about for years to come-heat don’t want to face Celts this year & stern doesn’t want that either!
    CELTICS-HORAAH-UBUNTU!!!

  3. TAE says:

    miami has 2 champ. CELTS HAS 18 CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!
    Chicago and Indiana has to beat miami no newyork!!

  4. NYK FAN #8 says:

    I love Celtics fans complaining about not winning a ring… Try not winning a ring in 40 years then come and cry on the forums.

  5. lordroadkill says:

    When you go down you go down fighting, KG and Jeff green did that on friday,WAKE UP PIERCE!!!!!!!!, and Suspend smith at least one game Peace i am bleeding GREEN!!!!!!!

  6. Kamote says:

    Hats off to the Knicks. Though I’m a Boston fan, clearly the series is just in NY’s favor. And even if Melo and JR are making impossibly tough shots a la Kobe/MJ, I still give props to Boston’s defense as they won’t let NY score as much as they can. The problem is the C’s can’t shoot. They’ve had open looks but just can’t make them. NY’s D has improved, but its mostly the Celtics are really poor at their offense. We really miss Rondo, Barbosa, Jared and of course Ray Allen. Doc’s system would’ve been fully utilized with a healthy group.

    Great run by Boston, I just wish they could at least win at home and give their faithful something to cheer about. Hopefully Ainge can retool next year. We still have a good young core in Rondo, Bradley, Green and Jared. As for KG and Pierce, I know these guys will reach the end of their careers fighting :).

    Go Boston!!!

  7. mee(a)t says:

    im not a celtics fan but it was always interesting seeing them go against over .500 teams…but now seeing them just makes me bow my head…im not even sure if i can feel the same pain you Celtic fans are feeling

  8. ene be a says:

    Not 1 not 2 not 3 not 4 not 5 not 6 not 7…… hey, and when he said it, he really believe it. I believe it to, let’s go KING… convert the heat into a dynasty, and on the way, become the greatest to ever play the game of basketball.

    Att.GUACHO

    • Peter says:

      How is it that you have a topic about the Knicks and Celtics, yet somehow some moron band-wagon Heat fan always manages to bring the Heat into the discussion?

      Relevance = zero

  9. ene be a says:

    Not 1 not 2 not 3 not 4 not 5 not 6 not 7…… hey, and when he said it, he really believe it. I believe it to, let’s go KING… convert the heat into a dynasty.

  10. Ladyshakalaka says:

    I am so HAPPY that the Lakers and Celtics dynasty has finally come to an end!!!!!!!!! Now I want to see the MIAMI HEAT BEAT everyone, not 3, not 4, not 5 not 6…….. On and on til the break of dawn! :-)

  11. Matt says:

    kilroy you happen to be the most idiotic person I have ever seen online. KG and Pierce should retire they are still top notch players. KG should retire but Paul has still got it he just doesn’t have enough help around him

  12. W/E says:

    Celtics going into dark ages again,they are gunna be a lottery team by next year.

  13. Bird33 says:

    I’m sad to see it end like this for this Celtics era….like all C’s fan, I was hoping this squad would get two banners before the era came to a close. While ill be cheering like hell on Sunday, I’ll also be thinking back to the night in June 2008 when 22 years of darkness lifted.

    Thank you Paul, Kevin and…well…yes, even Ray for that memory. I just have one request for Danny…please don’t let us wait 22 years again to be relevant…I can do that wait again. It would be a shame not to surround Doc with the talent to win it all.

    Long live the Dynasty.

  14. LordP says:

    Utopia thinking they can still win with Pierce & KG..Danny ainge better wake up and stop living in the past..the glory is over..!!

  15. allaroundballer says:

    This is why Lebron made the big three earlier.

    After their single ring, Boston big three never had a real shot, one of them always injured and too old in the end. Maybe their best chance was 2010 final, but still Perkins injured and didn’t play in game 7

  16. kilroy says:

    sweep…

    pierce and garnett should reitre

  17. theholyspectator says:

    long live the celtics, it was a good run, they shoulda won at least one more title but oh well, let the rebuilding begin..ironic how the two teams in nba history with the most titles are finally entering the dark declining years, celtics and lakers.. ..but ne ways..that ECF with knicks vs heat lookin pretty epic tho

    • New Zealand fan says:

      I agree,The dynasty of the Lakers and the Celtics have come to an end, and it is now the long term rebuilding both teams will be looking ahead too once this playoff run is over.

      It’s a sad day when you see Pierce failing to even keep hold of the ball, and on the otherside you don’t even see Kobe on the court.
      Knicks and Heat will be a great match-up.

    • BosstownC's says:

      Celtics had their dark days late 90’s early 2000’s they went something like 23-59 or something I’m not quiet sure but I know it was ridiculous. Then they rebuilt with Ray and Garnett along with Rondo getting drafted and adding a solid bench around them. The Celtics will rebuild like we do and become a caliber team again it just might take some time.

    • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

      THE KNICKS WILL NOT PLAY THE HEAT IN THE EASTREN CONFERENCE FINALS, THE KNICKS WONT GET PAST INDIANA IN THE 2ND ROUND!
      Pacers might sweep the knicks, or win in 5.

      • NYALLDAY says:

        and then you wake up , pacers will get beat in 6 the wont hang , stat is coming back for that series wit him martin and chandler in rotation and kid jr and felton playing well and melo (the scoring champion) doing what he does the pacers have no shot

      • altheman says:

        Hey the pacers don’t got George they lost this round too

      • Sintido kumon says:

        Indiana don’t have enough offense,what makes you think they can make shots against the Knicks improved defense in the playoffs??Pacers might be the best defensive team in the league but they won’t have enough on the offensive end,they’ll probably have a hard time scoring against Atlanta today…

      • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

        They will lose to IND because IND is too deep and has better defense, The knicks are not going to win with a one man melo melo show against good teams like IND in a 7 game series… Dont be fooled by the knicks beating Boston, Boston is Weak & everybody knows it…

      • Sintido kumon says:

        Deep??did you watch today’s game??coudnt even score 70 against Atlanta,New York is deeper,with jr smith comin off the bench with Jason Kidd and Kmart …Indiana won’t stand a chance against New York,and Knicks are goin all the way buddy…

      • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

        Yeah i watched todays game, and i also watched the first 2 games in that series when IND humiliated ATL and scored 107 & 113 pts in both blowout wins. Look, kid, Everyone is getting excited & starting up the bandwaggon for the NYK’s, because given all of the random injuries this year in all the top teams, the knicks are looking like the only opponent that could pose a threat to the heat…But the truth is, the knicks will not be able to win in a 7 game series with good teams, theyre just not buit like that yet
        HEAT WILL REPEAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Noam says:

        Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Way

        Knicks in 6

    • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

      in 6 ??? knicks will be lucky to push it to a game 7…