With the Knicks out the playoffs, New York fans will take any small victories we can get over these last two games. Iman Shumpert has been terrorizing Paul Pierce on the defensive end since last year’s playoffs. But tonight, Shump gave old man Pierce the business on offense via this sweet crossover. The Knicks ended up pounding the Nets the entire game and won 109-98.
Nothing comes easy in the playoffs, and the Knicks found that out in spades over the course of six games against the Boston Celtics. It was smooth sailing in the first three games until New York found themselves in an absolute dogfight from games 4-6. As nerve-wracking as these battles were for Knicks fans, the adversity the team had to endure can only help them since this round to the championship will not get any easier.
THREE QUARTER FOCUS: For the game’s first 36 minutes, the Knicks played like a squad determined to make amends for their putrid effort in game 5. The defense was absolutely stifling in the first half, causing the Celtics commit 11 turnovers off 6 blocks and 8 steals. While Carmelo Anthony was still struggling to shoot the ball, he was getting mostly good shots and not forcing the issue as others stepped up. Pablo Prigioni was the first half X-factor in nailing three treys. At one point, the Knicks lead 21-5. After one, it was a 24-10 cushion in favor of NY.
There was a 5-minute scoring drought in the second that allowed the Celtics to pull within nine, but a Melo three-point play off a pullup bank shot pushed the lead back to 39-27 at halftime.
The third quarter was a clinic with the Knicks hitting five three-pointers. The catalyst here was Iman Shumpert, who swished two of them and helped the ball movement immensely with his scoring. He did an appropriate “jet taunt” aimed at Jason Terry following the last one that pushed the lead to 67-47. Outside of a Raymond Felton tech for complaining, it was a near-flawless 12 minutes.
THE NEAR-COLLAPSE: The fourth quarter was one of the most absurd things I’ve seen all year from the Knicks. They continued attacking the rim and got the lead up to 75-49 off a Shumpert putback dunk just a few minutes in the quarter. You’d think it was a wrap on but once again, the Knicks showed a complete lack of killer instinct and let Boston go on a completely inexcusable 20-0 run (yes, you read that right), that allowed them to get within four points (77-73). Not only did the Knicks commit four sloppy turnovers, but they weren’t getting set on defense and shying away from the big moments on the offensive end. Felton and JR appeared unsure of themselves and everything went back to Melo isolations. To our superstar’s credit, Melo was able to hit some clutch free throws and a pullup jumper to get the lead back to six (81-75). However, putting Iman Shumpert back into the starting lineup is what stopped the bleeding as he got another steal taht lead to a fast break layup.
Melo’s three-pointer, followed by a block on Paul Pierce and JR three-point play, finally iced the game with a little under two minutes remaining.
THE POSITIVES: Iman Shumpert was the MVP of this game as far as the Knicks are concerned. He was all over Paul Pierce (4/18, 14 points), and contributed 17 points on 6/9 shooting. Shump was two-way player last night and never got flustered during that 20-0 run. Tyson Chandler’s been hurting the whole series, but he’s made gradual progress returning to form and did well on the rebounding and defensive front (9 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks). He got his team a few needed offensive rebounds down the stretch, and did a good job on Kevin Garnett (15 points, 10 rebounds) late in the fourth despite being burned on post moves a few times.
Felton didn’t have a monster game (11 points on 5/14 shooting), but he was very consistent in moving the ball (7 assists) and driving to the lane. My only issue with him was the complaining. He runs this offensive ship and has to stay focused with the game of the line.
THE GAUNTLET ONLY GETS WORSE: If the Knicks thought the defense of the Celtics was rough, they’re in for absolute hell when they take on the Indiana Pacers tomorrow. Roy Hibbert and David West will be all over anyone that comes into the lane. The Knicks, specifically Carmelo Anthony, need to ready themselves mentally for the pounding and inevitable missed calls inside. The whining only turns the refs against them, so that needs to be hammered home by Coach Woodson.
The Knicks also need to realize that no lead is safe. Every tem that’s made it this far in the season is dangerous. When you get in position to have your foot on someone’s neck in a game, you don’t let up — you break it. Death blows kill confidence and prevent 20-0 runs.
MELO: This is the one player I’m worried about in this Indiana series. Melo’s nursing a shoulder injury and since this Celtics series wasn’t wrapped up quickly, the Knicks get right back into a dogfight tomorrow. Along with the physical issues, Melo’s been struggling with his shot over the last three games. If the Knicks have any hope of getting off to a good start, they need their leading scorer to at the very least have a decent game.
With all that said, the Knicks have accomplished another season goal of getting out of the first round of the playoffs. After a 13-year drought, that’s cause enough celebration (and relief).[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaNIYfZpmek&feature=youtube_gdata_player]
23! No, I’m not talking about the iconic number of one of game’s greatest players. 23 indicates the new record for offensive futility that the Boston Celtics set last night in the second half while under pressure from the Knicks defense. The Celtics could only put up 23 points (11 and 12 in the third and fourth quarters, respectively) when faced with the likes of Kenyon Martin in the lane, resulting in a decisive 87-71 Knicks victory.
We’re still waiting on that complete 48-minute game when it comes to defense, but the Knicks put the clamps down when it mattered and reminded the Celtics this isn’t the team they swept back in 2011.
TRIGGER-HAPPY REFS IN 1ST QUARTER: For whatever reason, the referees decided to call the first quarter like they were afraid a fight was going to break out. BS fouls were being called on both teams, resulting in Iman Shumpert, Kevin Garnett and Tyson Chandler having to take quick seats. Offensively, the Knicks didn’t truly get going until newly crowned Sixth Man of the Year JR Smith came in. Swish went 4-4 for nine points in just 8 minutes with the last two being his patented stepback outside jumper and a breathtaking buzzer-beating three-pointer from 36 feet to give New York a 26-20 lead.
SLEEPWALKING THROUGH THE SECOND: The Knicks had a putrid second quarter all-around. Steve Novak and Chris Copeland continued their invisible play. Jason Terry found his stroke from downtown (3-3) that helped spark a 11-0 Boston run to take a 31-27 lead. At one point, Boston lead by as much as 10 as the Knicks offense degraded into predictable Melo isos. The Knicks couldn’t protect the ball either as the Celtics got 16 points off turnovers and outscored the Knicks 28-16 to hold a 48-42 halftime lead.
The only positive from this quarter was Garnett getting hit with his third foul.
BACK TO REALITY: The Celtics shot 57% over the first half and we know that wasn’t going to continue. Iman Shumpert hit back to back treys that erased the Celtics lead, and from there it was all Knicks. Melo rebounded from a slow first half (3/11 shooting) and lit up Boston for 13 points in the third and 34 points overall. Whenever the Celtics tried to make a run in the fourth, a few quick Melo jumpers kept them from getting closer than nine.
With Melo and Smith guaranteed to get theirs every night, the Knicks always have a need for a third guy to step up on offense. Last night it was Raymond Felton (16 points, 7 rebounds), who pushed the pace and ran the Celtics ragged with his drives into the lane.
The interior defense from Tyson Chandler, who had a huge block on Avery Bradley, and Kenyon Martin, who had four big blocks in the second half, kept the Celtics a jump-shooting team. K-Mart in particular was huge with 11 rebounds (3 offensive) and keeping Garnett (4-9, 12 points) working hard to get post position. His defense was also the main catalyst for Jeff Green not being able to get anything going to the basket.
The Knicks will need to be even better on Friday when they head into Boston for what will no doubt be a highly emotional game. Let’s pay back that 2011 series with a sweep of our own.
The Knicks can’t win without hitting a ton of threes. No one on that squad plays defense outside of Kenyon Martin and Tyson Chandler. They can’t handle a physical defense. There has been a lot of bullshit spewed against the Knicks by network talking heads over the last few months. I don’t expect much of their flawed narrative to change due to one game, but the Knicks sure looked like a team ready for the tough playoff grind as they gutted out an old-school, half-court battle with the Boston Celtics. This was far from a polished performance, and that’s exactly why this win is promising as the Knicks will surely improve as the series progresses.
THE HELL WITH EFFICIENCY. GIVE ME BUCKETS WHEN IT COUNTS!: It’s no secret that success for the Knicks starts and ends with the play of Carmelo Anthony. Early on Melo was on fire in hitting his first four shots (two from downtown). He then went extremely cold from the field. People made a lot about this, claiming that Melo was holding the ball too long. That’s true on some possessions, but many times Melo was given the ball in the possession’s final seconds when our guards failed to get any penetration.
Melo stayed with it and got hot when it counted in the fourth quarter. With the game on the line, he hit back to back jumpers to push the Knicks lead to 76-72. A deflection caused a Boston turnover and Melo promptly went on a one-man fastbreak to hit a layup and make the lead 81-76. The final dagger would come with little over a minute when Melo hit a long jumper over Jeff Green. And for further emphasis, Melo countered a hard trap by finding K-Mart under the basket to make it 85-78.
I’m not a stat nerd and could care less if Melo shoots 35% or 60% as long as we win. These games will be decided in the fourth and from what we saw yesterday, Melo is ready to meet the challenge.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xH2vUCxpmh8&feature=youtube_gdata_player]
25 AND 8: These are two numbers sum up our second half defense. First off, the Knicks should have been embarrassed to give up 53 first half points to that Boston offense (particularly letting Jeff Green go off for 20 points). They took the challenge in the second half by holding Green to just six points in the final 24 minutes. The Celtics only scored 25 points in the entire second half and 8 points in the fourth quarter!
Two guys were essential in this defensive stand: Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin. Kidd was all over the passing lanes and totally killed the ball movement in the Celtics offense, being the catalyst for six fourth quarter Boston turnovers (20 for the game). And K-Mart played superb D on Garnett, swallowed up numerous offensive boards, and protected the pain like a madman. The below block sums up what we want out of our defense on every possession.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0f_5sXXcyE&feature=youtube_gdata_player]
JR’S DUNK: JR’s shot wasn’t going down yesterday, but he remained aggressive. Like Melo, he had key buckets in the fourth, including a three-point play layup over Kevin Garnett. His biggest play came in the first half courtesy of this massive dunk below.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWWlmdPreyo&feature=youtube_gdata_player]
NO FAVORITES: I was highly worried about Coach Woodson’s sanity when I heard he was considering starting James White. Thank God that didn’t happen. What I liked most about Woody’s decisions is that he played no favorites with the lineup. Tyson Chandler wasn’t as strong defensively as K-Mart, so Woody went with the latter to close out the fourth. Chris Copeland has been a prolific scorer to close out the season, but he had jitters and also couldn’t contain Green. Woody quickly benched him as well. They’ll get more chances to contribute as adjustments are made, but I’m extremely happy to see Woody’s stubborn tendencies eradicated.
The Knicks get one more day of rest tomorrow which bodes well for a potential Tuesday return of Pablo Prigioni.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gYRrGcZ4Sc&feature=youtube_gdata_player]
2004. That is the last time the Knicks won a season series against the Boston Celtics. Here we are nine years later with the Knicks breaking that drought emphatically with three straight wins (two in Boston) over their Atlantic division rivals to win the season series 3-1 and extend their winning streak to eight. Are the Knicks about to peak heading into April and the playoffs? There’s many reasons from this game to think so.
BLOWN OPEN IN THE SECOND: The Knicks had a 28-23 lead after one solely based on their hot shooting (52% from the field), punctuated by 4 three-pointers. The Celtics were right there with them courtesy of Jeff Green (27 points), who attacked the rim like JR Smith has been doing lately. But when the second quarter came around, the Knicks ran them out the building.
Chris Copeland provided some key offense with Melo on the bench by hitting his first two three-pointers. Steve Novak added a few treys and Jason Kidd added a shot-clock bailout one that extended the lead to 60-44. The three-point shooting was the main factor in the huge lead, as the Knicks hit 11 of them at the half. The ball movement was on point (15 assists for the team), and the scoring was evenly distributed.
You’ll recall the Knicks ran away with the last Celtics game in the second and capped their excellent play with a deep JR trey at the buzzer. Well, Raymond Felton did one better with a beyond half-court floater that banked in to make the lead 65-48. When shots like that are going down, you know you’re in trouble.[youtube http://youtu.be/Enf4PBVoNyA]
NO THIRD QUARTER MELTDOWN: Over the first 4-5 minutes of the third, the Celtics were the team with momentum. They were getting to the line and hitting threes, which got them as close as 11 on a few occasions. However, the Knicks responded with timely buckets each time, the biggest being a Felton 3-point play that gave Avery Bradley, the Celtics’ best perimeter defender, his fifth foul. NY finished the quarter strong and Boston faced a 86-69 hole headed into the fourth.
BOSTON SUCKS!: These type of Madison Square Garden chants have come back to haunt us in previous games, but not tonight. The chants started at the beginning of the fourth and the Celtics never could provide any reason to shut the Knicks fans up. Paul Pierce had a good night (24 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists), but sat the entire fourth as coach Doc Rivers knew it was a lost cause.
JR COOLS OFF: JR Smith’s 30 point game, 50% shooting streak ended tonight on a very good note. I say that because we all wondered if JR would go back to his chucking ways when his shots weren’t going down. He was 4/12 from the field, but made sure to get to the line (7/10) and swallow up rebounds (12) on the small ball-minded Celtics. Tonight he faced one of the best defenses in the league and didn’t mentally have a setback, the clearest sign thus far that the “New JR Smith” is here to stay.
PABLO PRIGIONI REMAINS UNDEFEATED: Since Prigioni entered the starting lineup, the Knicks have been on this season-high eight-game win streak. It shouldn’t be surprising as Prigioni expertise in ball movement and steals/deflections have made sure the offense remains diverse with everyone being a scoring threat (except himself, of course). Pablo will get his biggest test on Tuesday against the Heat.
MELO’s 27 MINUTES: Carmelo had under 20 shots tonight (9/19) which is always a plus for the ball movement. The reason he ended up with 24 points instead of 32 is his struggles converting at the rim. A lot of them were point-blank shots that were just rimming out. But like JR, he contributed in other areas, namely in nabbing 10 rebounds. His defense was lazy at times (being late on switches and not contesting Green’s drives to the rim), but these lapses weren’t a huge detriment.
KNICKS SURVIVE THEIR TOUGHEST MONTH OF THE SEASON: How difficult was the month of March? We lost Tyson Chandler, Kurt Thomas and Amar’e Stoudemire to injuries, leaving just two bigs on the team. Melo missed several games with a bum knee and appeared in dire straits at times. Our West Coast trip proved to be a disaster going 1-4, and the Brooklyn Nets at one point were one game out of the top of the Atlantic Division. This winning streak helped the Knicks finish the month 12-6, stay atop the Atlantic by 4.5 games, and remain poised to have a healthy and confident team headed into the playoffs.
We’ve vanquished Boston. Now it’s time to make a statement to Miami and win that season series on Tuesday.[youtube http://youtu.be/dLvKgUaT3Ls]
Let’s just be quite frank about them. We always want to beat Boston. New York in anything wants to beat Boston and when we do, it’s a great feeling. – Carmelo Anthony
There are few things sweeter for a Knicks fan than smacking around the Boston Celtics. Both teams have dealt with severe injuries in recent weeks, but it’s been the Knicks that have weathered the storm to nurse a 4-game winning streak heading into tonight. On the other hand, the Celtics were on a 4-game losing streak. With both teams missing their notable defensive bigs in Tyson Chandler and Kevin Garnett, this one was decided by who could dominate the hustle plays.
SLOOOOW START: Being that it took over 2 minutes before anyone scored, this game looked like it could be an ugly one when it came to offensive execution. On the Knicks side, the ball movement was dead with lots of useless perimeter dribbling and Carmelo Anthony isolations. Matters really didn’t start clicking until JR Smith came in. Like the other games on this winning streak, Smith kicked off his night by getting to the rim at will for acrobatic layups. His 10 points off the bench offset Jordan Crawford abusing Jason Kidd in the post for the Knicks to hold a 28-24 lead after 12 minutes.
KNICKS RIDE JR’S HOT HAND: With Melo sitting, the offense had to work solely through JR. With Boston’s solid perimeter defense, Smith wisely kept the outside jumpers to a minimum and kept attacking the basket. At one stretch, he scored 11 straight points to power the Knicks back in front after the Celtics had taken a 33-31 lead behind 7 straight points from Jason Terry.
When the run extended to 14-0, the Celtics attempted to get physical on defense. In years past, this was when they slowly broke the Knicks down and climbed back in it.
The ball movement picked up and all of sudden Steve Novak was duping Paul Pierec on pump fakes and nailing threes. Pablo Prigioni was wreaking havoc defensively with steals and Melo was shoving the physicality back down Boston’s throat, most notably with a bully ball 3-point play inside (and a war yell added for good measure). By halftime, the Celtics were staring at a 58-44 deficit.
PUSHED BACK IN THE THIRD: The Celtics made a nice 16-9 run to get to within seven (67-60) due to the Knicks forgetting about penetration and settling for jumpshots. That all changed when JR came in around the six-minute mark. He righted the ship by going right back to Boston’s big weakness (lack of shotblocking) with a shot-clock beating short jumper over Brandon Bass. Now Melo’s post-ups were resulting in better perimeter shots (like a timely Jason Kidd trey to extend the lead to 74-62). Kidd had a lot of crucial cleanup plays in the final 3-4 minutes (rebounds, steals, drawing charges) to keep the Knicks in control.
And if the Celtics needed any reminder this wasn’t their night, the below JR heave from way downtown reminded them.[youtube http://youtu.be/W14ZBDvG_vE]
A FOREGONE CONCLUSION: There was never any real drama in the fourth except how many shots was Melo going to chuck up. Melo went a horrid 10-30 to get his 29 points. To be fair, a few of them were due to not getting calls inside and getting his own rebounds (six on the offensive glass) for second chance scores. Bottom line is the Knicks don’t win tonight without his scoring output, but better efficiency is needed.
PRIGIONI, KIDD AND K-MART: This trio didn’t have big numbers, but they were highly effective in making sure the Celtics got no momentum throughout the game. Prigioni in particular chose most of his four fouls wisely (stopping fast breaks), had two steals and five assists. Aside from the previously mentioned cleanup plays he made, Kidd even put it on the floor and got a nice driving layup over Avery Bradley. Martin had his quietest stat line of the win streak with 9 points, 5 rebounds and 1 block, but he protected the paint (causing a few blown layups) and set hard screens to get guys open. K-Mart’s toughness is a big reason the rest of the Knicks were emboldened to push back the Celtic attempts to push them around.
There would be no Knick-killing heroics from Paul Pierce tonight, as he had 16 quiet points. Four of Celtic starters got into double figures, but there was no flow to their offense — everything was disjointed and Boston never had a serious chance to get back in this after the middle of the third. After going winless in Boston for years, it’s an excellent sign to see the Knicks win two straight there as this is a potential playoff matchup. And the final icing on the cake is that this win is the worst loss the Celtics have had at home since 2010.
The Knicks will be right back at it Wednesday night when they face the Memphis Grizzlies, a squad that beat New York up and handed them their first defeat this season. Let’s see how much Martin’s presence makes a difference.[youtube http://youtu.be/UR9al3_svKc]
It was an ugly game on the offensive end, but a key JR Smith 3-pointer and two huge defensive stops on Paul Pierce allowed the Knicks to get their first win in Boston last night since November 2006. I was not in the mood to see another Pierce dagger jumper and thankfully JR saw to it that NY fans didn’t get another disappointing loss. Onto the game’s notable points.
MELO WAKES UP, BUT OFFENSE PROBLEMS PERSIST: Melo had a horrid first half going 4-13. It wasn’t all his fault either — the refs allowed him to get pounded down low and swallowed their whistles on several calls. To his credit, Melo keep his cool and picked up his aggression in the second half, finishing with 28 points and nailing a key three-pointer in the fourth to help push the lead to 10.
So why was the game so close in the end? There was way too much iso Melo in the last few possession with everyone just standing around. Yes, Melo is our best player, but let’s get some cuts to the basket to help him out. You could see in his body language that Melo was getting exasperated in continually getting the ball with the shot clock running down, which brings me to my next point…
STICK WITH KIDD OR GIVE PRIGIONI A SHOT?: PAblo Prigioni gave us good minutes last night. He got Stat going on some pick n’ rolls and hits two 3s to keep the defense honest. I understand that Coach Woodson has a lot of faith in Jason Kidd — who can forget his early season heroics, especially in the San Antonio and Brooklyn comeback games? Nonetheless, the season is wearing on and Kidd’s legs aren’t as fresh. Rajon Rondo was abusing him in the fourth and like in the Sacramento game, his holding the ball late instead of getting the offense going lead to several bad possessions. I can’t help but think Prigioni would’ve done more than just dump it in to Melo.
STAT GETS GOING: I must say, I like the progress that Amar’e Stoudemire showed today. His block and reverse dunk sequence in the second gave me flashbacks of Stat’s 2010 form. He also got a few offensive boards, 2 blocks and worked the ball in the post. For whatever reason, Stat was ignored on offense during the last few minutes of the fourth which was a huge mistake. If Stat would’ve gotten some of Melo’s and JR’s bad shots, I’m certain he would’ve had his first 20 + game of the season.
KNICKS IN THE ZONE: On defense New York went for long stretches using zone defense which provided excellent results. During one stretch in the first half, the Celtics missed 11 straight field goals. And in the fourth, their offense went stagnant again to allow the Knicks to pull out front 80-70.
I LIKE KURT THOMAS… ON THE BENCH: Unless the Knicks are having a blowout, it’s best that Kurt Thomas stays on the bench and gets his 90s Herb Williams on. In less than a minute during the second quarter, Thomas bricked an open jumper, blew a layup and got beat by Garnett on an alley oop. Woodson did the smart thing pulling him immediately on a timeout and that’s the last we saw of him.
SHUMPERT’S JUMPER: I’m praying that Iman Shumpert’s shooting isn’t fool’s gold like Ronnie Brewer’s early season success. In the second quarter, Boston went on a 8-0 run to take a 33-31 lead and Pierce was lighting us up to the tune of a 15-point quarter. It was Shumpert who hit back to back 3-pointers to kill their momentum and allow NY to take a slim 50-48 lead into halftime. We’re in desperate need of a third reliable scorer, especially when Melo and JR are struggling. If Shumpert can be that, it’ll do wonders for the rest of the season.
CHANDLER NOT AT HIS BEST: Although he picked it up in the second half, Tyson Chandler had a subpar game by his standards. Guys were getting into the lane too easy without him contesting. I’m sure foul trouble played a role, but he had some strong finishes at the rim in the third for “and 1” finishes that helped NY to take a 72-66 lead into the fourth. He finished with 5 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. Most importantly, he held Kevin Garnett to eight points.
WHY YOU STAY WITH JR SMITH: When you don’t shoot well, you have to contribute in other ways. That’s exactly with JR did last night. He shot 3-16 for just 9 points, but with him off the floor we lose. With Boston threatening to take the lead, JR single-handedly made Paul Pierce look like a fool on two possessions. The first was a deflection off Pierce after breaking up a Jason Terry pass. The second was the game-clincher in JR thwarting a potential three-pointer by slapping the ball away and off Pierce. JR should’ve took a bow and blew a kiss at the crowd to prove a point.
A STATEMENT GAME: After getting pushed around for most of the season by teams with physical defense, the Knicks proved they could get it done in a grind-out, playoff type game. It was made extra sweet being against a hated division rival, pushing their record two games under .500 (20-22),and extending their losing streak to five. I couldn’t ask for better “revenge” game ending to the whole Honey Nut Cheerios nonsense.
I HATE LOSING TO BOSTON! It was a story of composure and physicality last night at the Garden with the Celtics, being the veterans they are, rattling the Knicks with hard defense to execute down the stretch for their third straight victory. Our leader Carmelo Anthony mentally checked out and got into a personal battle with Kevin Garnett, leading to several ill-advised late contested shots and trying to win the game by himself. It’s a learning experience for sure, but this game also shines light on our recurring problem dealing with physical teams.
MELO VS. KG: Garnett does what he’s done for most of his career — throw sneaky elbows and other fouls to get under his opponent’s skin. Melo was already having a horrid shooting game, but I firmly believe the stuff with KG got him even more out of sorts in the pivotal 4th quarter with the game on the line. After the double-tech was called on both, Melo hit a clutch three and then proceeded to stink it up the rest of the way. He got caught repeatedly on switches where he fouled KG in frustration 10-15 feet from the basket.
As we saw in the games against Chicago and Memphis, Melo doesn’t channel his anger with physical play well. He makes stupid fouls (his second in the first quarter far away from the basket caused him to sit most of the half) and puts his team at a disadvantage. I don’t give Melo any points for trying to confront KG after the game. That does nothing for the team or himself. If he wants to truly get KG and the Celtics back, and I’m sure Coach Woodson told him this at some point last night, you stay poised and kick their ass on the court with ball movement, defense and playing NY basketball.
NY FOLDS UNDER DEFENSE: The Knicks had a horrible third quarter exacerbated by the play of Pablo Prigioni. He had awful time handling the Celtic full court pressure. The Knicks couldn’t get into their offense until late in the shot clock, causing sloppy pick n roll passes that were intercepted for turnovers. Speaking of turnovers, the Knicks had six in the third and only scored 16 points. And keep in mind the Celtics didthis with Pierce on the bench, who had picked up his fourth foul.
ISO VS. BALANCED SCORING: The Celtics shot 53% from the field and got contributions from everyone. Pierce dropped 23, KG 19, and Avery Bradley 13. Their bench, lead by Jeff Green’s 16 points, contributed a total of 39 points. Melo lead the Knicks with 20 points on a putrid 6-26 shooting night. Tyson Chandler had a few rebound lapses late but it’s hard to criticize his 13 point, 17 rebound night. JR Smith chipped in 24 points but on 7-18 shooting and Amar’e Stoudemire added 13 points. The reason our points came on 41% shooting was due to heavy isolation plays and long three-pointers, while the Celtics made the extra passes needed to get many wide open jumpers.
THE WORD IS OUT: Until the Knicks prove otherwise, the scouting report on them will be they can’t handle physical play. This game, along with the losses to Memphis, Chicago (2X) and Houston (2X), prove that in spades. The bitching and moaning has to stop and it starts with our leader Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks will have to turn it around quick because later this week they face two more physical teams in the Pacers and Bulls.
And on one last ironic note, Melo has won NBA Player of the Week.