On Saturday afternoon, at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks (#2 Seed, 54-28) defeated the Boston Celtics (#7 Seed, 41-40) 85-78.
The Knicks now have a 1-0 Series Lead in the Best of 7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal. Box Score
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks in scoring with 36 points on 13-29 shooting from the floor. He was 4-6 from downtown, added six rebounds, four steals and one assist.
Kenyon Martin scored 10 points on 4-7 from the field and led the Knicks in rebounding with nine board, five of them were offensive boards. He also added two blocks and one steal.
J.R. Smith scored 15 points on 7-19 shooting from the floor, including 1-7 from three. He added five rebounds, two steals and one block.
Jeff Green led the Celtics in scoring with 26 points on 8-15 shooting from the floor. He scored 20 in the first half and added seven rebounds, two assists and three blocks. He did have six turnovers.
Paul Pierce scored 21 points on 6-15 from the field including 1-7 from three with seven assists, five rebounds and six turnovers. Kevin Garnett scored only eight points on 4-12 shooting to go along with nine rebounds and four assists.
Raymond Felton scored 13 points on on 5-13 from the field along with six assists, four rebounds, one block, two steals and was a +16
The Knicks bench outscored the Celtics bench 33-4.
The Celtics only shot 5-20 from three (25%) while the Knicks were 9-25 (36%).
The Knicks forced the Celtics to have the same number of turnovers and points in the fourth quarter, eight.
The Celtics only scored 25 points in the second half, eight in the fourth quarter. The 25 points in the second half was the lowest number of points they have scored in a half in their playoff history.
This is the Knicks 11th straight home win and their second straight win at home in the playoffs.
This is the first time the Knicks won a Game One of a Series and had a Series Lead in the Playoffs since the 2001 East Quarterfinal against the Toronto Raptors.
This is the first time the Knicks have defeated the Celtics in a playoff game since Game 5 in 1990.
For all of you younger Knicks fans that don’t remember what playoff basketball was like in the 90’s, you just got a crash course in it this afternoon.
This was a knock down, drag out fight between two teams that don’t like each other and it was fun to see. It was even more fun when the Knicks were able to use their defense to fuel their offense and complete the comeback victory.
As I was sitting here in my living room and screaming at the TV, I was feeling pretty low as the Celtics had taken a 62-59 Knicks lead and turned it into a 70-63 lead for themselves.
Paul Pierce hit his only three of the game by having the ball rim out and go back in and it was extremely frustrating. It was like a “Oh here we go again” type of moment. Then a funny thing happened on the way to another brutal Knicks playoff loss.
The Knicks, who always seem to struggle closing quarters strong, got four points in the final minute of the third and trailed by only three going to the fourth. It was a start, they had gotten some momentum after the Celtics seemed to have it all.
Then the Knicks dominated the Fourth quarter, the one they have dominated all year, and the Celtics played about as poorly as a team can. They turned it over, basically went to all isolation with Pierce and had no continuity without a regular point guard running the show.
J.R. Smith went back to attacking the rim and forcing the Celtics to foul him which was a key in the comeback. Melo made some big shots after struggling in the second and third quarters plus Kenyon Martin was once again a rock in the middle.
I think the comeback was a true team effort. The punctuation mark on that point being the pass Melo made to Martin for the final basket of the game that put the Celtics away. Instead of forcing a shot like Melo had done most times today, he trusted his teammates, and got the ball to Martin for the easy basket. That play is a perfect example of his growth this season.
Jason Kidd diving on the floor for a loose ball, Raymond Felton driving the lane and taking hit after hit and the tough defense was all part of the recipe needed to pull out this win as well.
Like I said, a true team effort.
The one thing that was infuriating was the horrific job the referees did in this game. It is one thing to call a game tight, it is another to try to make yourselves the story. The only thing we were missing was the over reactions on the actual calls themselves. I mean if the Celtics are going to get most of the calls on the road, the games in Boston make take four hours. I hate to complain about the refs, even after a win, but they were atrocious.
The first half was basically what was expected and the Celtics did a great job knocking the Knicks back on their heels. But, then the Knicks had an answer,like they have had answers all year long. The defense clamped down, the ball movement came back, and the game was won.
The Knicks took the Celtics best shot and answered with a haymaker of their own to take Game One. The Celtics will be fired up again for Game Two and the Knicks will probably weather another storm like they did today.
Today was a fun throwback to the great days of the 1990’s Knicks playoff runs. Lets see if the Knicks can answer the bell again because as it was proven today, this playoff run will not be easy.
Coming up next the Knicks, will look to keep home court in their favor and go up 2-0 in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals as they will take on Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics. The game is on Tuesday at 8:00 pm and can be seen on MSG or TNT.