After both teams came out shooting the lights out in the 1st quarter, the Knicks and Celtics fell drastically back to earth in the 2nd quarter with the Knicks nursing a one point lead into the locker room. Here are a few notes on action from the first half:
(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Like Tuesday Night’s game in Philadelphia the Celtics are drastically outshooting their opponent at halftime with a 43% FG percentage from the field compared to 36% for the Knicks. Turnovers however are not the main problem for the Celtics tonight as Mike D’Antoni’s squad is using the three ball to keep themselves ahead sinking 8 of 18 in the first half.
The Celtics appear to be playing down to the Knicks level defensively, as they have been subpar in both defending the pick and roll and rotating all night, leaving to an endless supply of open jumpers for the Knicks shooters. If the Knicks had shot better than 6/20 from the floor in the 2nd quarter, the C’s would have been looking at a double digit deficit right now. The defensive intensity and effectiveness clearly has to pick up in the second half for the Celtics to pick up a win tonight. If anything, someone needs to shadow Al Harrington through all of the movement in the Knicks offense as he (much like the last meeting in MSG where he went for 35 points) has been killing the C’s tonight with 17 points at the half on 7/12 shooting.
Jared Jeffries has been guarding Rondo again tonight as CelticsHub.com’s Zach Lowe predicted. Someone clearly had Rondo’s ear before this game to tell him to attack Jeffries tonight, which he has done. The results have been less than stellar (3/8 from field) including a number of missed layups and floaters. Rondo however has been much more confident in attacking Jeffries tonight than the flast meeting and has helped open up the rest of the Celtics offense with six first half assists.
TA has been a train wreck driving to the hoop tonight, with a couple out of control shots and an offensive foul. He must be reeled in a bit in the 2nd half and go to the hoop with more control to be effective.
Leon Powe logging many more minutes than Big Baby in the first half. Is it Doc giving Big Baby a rest after a couple long nights? Powe has historically matched up well with Knicks in the past few meetings. I believe this could be the start of something though after Powe’s effective game against the Lakers last night. Is the edge on PF depth chart shifting back to Powe? Time will tell.