Series: 1-0 Knicks
When: 8:00 PM
Where: Madison Square Garden
Network: MSG or TNT
Starting Lineups (Subject To Change)
Celtics (#7 Seed, 41-40)
PG: Avery Bradley
SG: Paul Pierce
PF: Brandon Bass
C: Kevin Garnett
Knicks (#2 Seed, 54-28)
PG: Raymond Felton
SG: Pablo Prigioni
SF: Iman Shumpert
PF: Carmelo Anthony
C: Tyson Chandler
Home court advantage in the NBA Playoffs is something that takes a whole regular season to earn. But, it can only take one game to lose it.
The Knicks in Game one did not play particularly well, in comparison to how they finished the season, and still got the best of Boston.
They played brilliant defense in the second half, scored enough down the stretch and kept the home court advantage that they earned this year.
Of course all of that can change in an instant if the Celtics can get the win tonight. We all know that the Celtics, much like the Bulls last night in Brooklyn, will come out with a ton of energy and enthusiasm to try to get the series at 1-1 before heading back to Boston.
As Melo said to the media after practice yesterday, “Game two is harder than Game one. Although we took care of business in Game one, we still want to come back and not give away this game. This game is more important than Game one was.”
The Celtics are going to make adjustments to their game and they have to if they want to win this series. They will probably double team Melo more and will try to limit their turnovers.
The way the Knicks adjust to what the Celtics change will be key to a win tonight. A playoff series allows teams to get used to their opponents and how they play the game in a short period of time. Considering how well they already know each other, nothing the other team does should fool them unless they get very creative.
For the Knicks, having Pablo Prigioni in the lineup after he missed Game one, will be a big help. His all around defensive intensity and personal emphasis on ball movement is important to the Knicks. Coach Woodson basically said the offense got stale at times in Game one because Prigioni was out.
The one thing to watch with him back in the lineup with be how Raymond Felton does guarding Paul Pierce. The Celtics are going with a big lineup and the Knicks are using the two point guard lineup that worked so well down the stretch. That means Felton will have to guard Pierce which could be tough for him considering the size he gives up to Pierce.
The Knicks though feel comfortable knowing that Boston’s big lineup will have to worry about the Knicks quickness and ball movement around the perimeter when they have the ball. The basic thought being, “Yeah, we have to adjust to them, but they also have to adjust to us.”
This game tonight will unfold like a chess match. With each coach and each player trying to outsmart their opponent and eventually make the right move to get the win.
A win tonight and going up 2-0 before heading to Boston will be important for the Knicks. They say a series doesn’t truly start till the road team wins. If that is the case, I rather see this series start after Game three.
Enjoy the Game!
Five Questions About Tonight’s Game
- Will Melo be able to beat the adjustments the Celtics defense will make against him?
- How will the Pablo Prigioni look in his return from injury?
- Will the Celtics be able to cut down on their turnovers?
- Can Tyson Chandler make a significant improvement in his play?
- Besides Smith & Martin, which Knicks player off the bench will make the biggest impact?