On Tuesday night, at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks (#2 Seed, 54-28) defeated the Boston Celtics (#7 Seed, 41-40) 87-71.
The Knicks now have a 2-0 Series Lead in the Best of 7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal. Box Score
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks in scoring with 34 points on 11-24 shooting from the field. He was 10-11 from the line. had four rebounds and GASP!!…only one assist.
J.R. Smith scored 19 points off the bench on 7-15 shooting from the field. He added two rebounds, one assist and one block.
Raymond Felton scored 16 points on 8-15 shooting from the field. He was second on the team with seven rebounds and had only two assists.
Paul Pierce led the Celtics in scoring with 18 points on 8-19 shooting from the field. He had a team high six assists and added six rebounds as well. He was also only 1-2 from the line and was a -28.
Jeff Green only scored 11 points on 3-11 shooting from the floor while Kevin Garnett was in foul trouble all game and only scored 12 points and a team leading 11 rebounds.
Kenyon Martin came off the bench to lead the Knicks in rebounds with 11 to go along with three points, two assists and four blocked shots.
The Celtics, after scoring 25 points in the second half in Game one, tied an NBA record by scoring only 23 points in the second half tonight. That number is the lowest ever scored by the Celtics in their playoff history.
The Celtics shot 56% in the first half and only 19% in the second half.
The Knicks have now won 15 of their last 16 games when J.R. Smith scores 15 points or more.
For Anthony, It was his fourth straight, and fifth in his last six, playoff contest with at least 30 points
This is the first time the Knicks have had a 2-0 series lead in a best of seven series since they swept the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the 1999 Playoffs.
The Knicks have now won 12 in a row at home and now have won three straight playoff games at home. The first time they have won three straight home playoff games since 2000.
I wonder if the Boston Celtics are going to petition the NBA to reduce games to only 24 minutes instead of 48. With the way these two games against the Knicks have gone, maybe they should just chance it.
What’s the worst that can happen? The NBA says no?
In the first halves of these games, the Celtics have outscored the Knicks 101-91.
In the second halves, it has been a much different story as the Knicks have outscored them 81-48.
Tonight was a night and day kind of game that has been truly stunning for the Celtics and simply amazing for the Knicks. Mike Woodson must have the halftime speeches that lift up the Knicks down to a science.
This game was pretty much a mirror image of the first game and in the first half, that was not exactly a good thing. I wanted to see how Boston would come out for this one after losing on Saturday. Would the Knicks be able to match the energy and fight the Celtics were sure to come out with?
Well in the first quarter, they looked like they had survived the early rush. J.R. Smith had put the cherry on top of a solid first quarter with a buzzer beating three to put them up 27-20.
Then in very similar fashion to the first game, the second quarter became the Celtics place to assert some dominance. They answered the Knicks 10-0 run to end the first quarter with a dominant 28-16 second, led by as many as nine and by six at the half.
Then of course, the second half happened and the Knicks once again put an end to the dream for the Celtics that they could steal one on the road. The ball movement was back, the drives to the rim were back and the Celtics couldn’t hit the ocean if they fell out of a boat.
The Knicks once again took their game, and specifically their defense, to another level. I mean, 25 points allowed in the second half last time was impressive enough, but to hold the Celtics to only 23 tonight? That is downright awesome.
Melo was once again doing what he does best, scoring buckets. Felton was very good in the second half running the offense and Kenyon Martin was doing everything and anything to help the team.
What can I say about Kenyon Martin? The man has been the MVP of the post trade deadline Knicks. He was all over the place. He did not let Garnett get comfortable, he blocked a Pierce layup (How sweet was that!?) and was keeping the Celtics off the offensive glass.
It is easy to praise Melo or Felton or Smith for how well they played tonight. It’s basically a broken record at this point, because they are good on most nights.
But, Kenyon Martin can not get enough praise for what he has brought to this team. Remember, this guy was on his couch in February and now is on top of the world for the Knicks.
The Knicks defended home court and now will have to be ready for a Celtics team that will be playing its first home game since the tragedy at the Boston Marathon. They will be fired up to get a win for the home fans and get back into the series, guaranteeing at least a return to New York.
This game once again showed that the Knicks are a complete team that is able to make adjustments and dominate a veteran playoff team like the Celtics.
It has been 14 years since they had a 2-0 series lead in a best of seven series. Once again, another “first time in a long time” accomplishment. But, they know it’s only two wins out of four needed. Lets see if they can really put the Celtics backs against the wall on Friday night.
Coming up next the Knicks, will head north to Boston to see if they can get a 3-0 lead in the series as they play Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals and take on Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics. The game is Friday at 8:00 pm and can be seen on MSG or ESPN.