Boston at New York
7:00 P.M. ET
Madison Square Garden
Postseason Offensive Efficiency:
Boston: 89.0 points/100 possessions (16th)
New York: 96.4 points/100 possessions (13th)
Postseason Defensive Efficiency:
Boston: 96.4 points allowed/100 possessions (4th)
New York: 89.0 points allowed/100 possessions (1st)
Probable Knicks Starters:
Raymond Felton (PG), Pablo Prigioni (SG), Iman Shumpert (SF), Carmelo Anthony (PF), and Tyson Chandler (C)
View From The Opposing Bench: KnickerBlogger
Thumbnail: The Celtics “one-game-at-a-time” approach has extra special meaning tonight. If they fail to earn their second win against the New York Knicks, there won’t be another game to approach. They have a bunch of things working against them: JR Smith is returning from his one game suspension; they are on the road at MSG; they’re facing elimination.
The biggest threat to the Celtics’ chances of winning is the fact that they’re facing off away from the friendly confines of TDGarden. The C’s have been positively awful on the road this season and, in most recent memory, have lost games 1 and 2 at MSG. I know the postseason is different from the regular season, but the Celtics’ bench hasn’t fared any better despite the games becoming more meaningful. One player in particular, Jason Terry, has to play well tonight if the C’s hope to escape from New York with a win.
The Celtics, despite the odds, have some things working in their favor. To paraphrase Stephen A. Smith on this morning’s SportsCenter: Carmelo Anthony will want to make up for his 10-35 shooting performance in Game 4. THIS is exactly what the Celtics want.
This series has allowed me an up close and personal view of Anthony on a good team. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how a team can be successful with a superstar like Anthony. So many possessions play out just like this: Anthony gets the ball in the midrange, turns and faces up on his defender, ball-fakes for 8 seconds, shoots a long two. WHAT?! How is that good/productive basketball?
When the Knicks have moved the ball, they have absolutely torched the Celtics by sinking wide-open shots. Instead, Anthony and JR Smith have been mostly playing heroball. There should be no wonder why a team with this amount of firepower is currently the fourth least efficient team from an offensive standpoint.
Doc Rivers has to balance the desire to play his starters the entire game with the need to integrate his bench to keep the starters fresh for the fourth quarter. He did a miserable job of that in Games 1, 2, and 3. In Game 4, we finally saw Terrence Williams; a player who is not shy about driving to the hole or about physically putting the “hurt” on the guy he’s defending. As a side benefit, extending the bench allowed the C’s to get more rest than they had early on in this series.
It’s hard to see Rivers extending his bench even further in a must-win game on the road, but I really hope we see some Shavlik Randolph on Kenyon Martin tonight. The Knicks were able to erase a 19 point second half lead largely on their ability to hit the offensive glass. Not only is Randolph the C’s best reserve big in terms of rebounding, but he also presents a really nice matchup to New York’s bigs. Both Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin have games built around toughness and emotion. Randolph is exactly the type of annoying big man (in the vein of Anderson Varejao and Jaokim Noah) that could get into the head’s of New York’s front line.
Whatever happens tonight, you can rest easy that this likely isn’t the end of Piece and Garnett’s time in green (Thanks, BRobb!).
Prediction: The Celtics NEED this win. So I will give it to them.
Celtics 90, Knicks 89