Apr 28, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) drives the ball against Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce (34) during overtime in game four of the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs at TD Garden. The Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 97-90. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
The Boston Celtics will visit Madison Square Garden to fight for their playoff lives once again. No team has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit, but the Celtics made progress the other night taking their first game against the New York Knicks after dropping the first three.
They scored 97 points against a Knicks defense that held them under 80 points in every other game of the series. Jason Terry snapped out of whatever trance he was in and shot 7-10 from the field for 18 points. He made a lot of plays down the stretch to seal the game.
With all of the talk about retirement for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce recently, they sure didn’t look like they were going to retire in the last game. Paul Pierce scored 29 points, grabbed eight rebounds and passed out six assists as well. Garnett got 17 rebounds on the night also and was the anchor of the Celtics defense once again.
Three Keys to Victory
Score score score!
This is obviously easier said than done for this Boston Celtics’ team, but they have to score the basketball and they have to do it consistently. They didn’t get that consistency in the second half once again on Sunday, but they managed to win because they forced an overtime period and the New York offense sputtered out. They stopped going away from Raymond Felton pick and rolls–their most productive play in the series.
The Celtics got Jason Terry going in this game and they came out on top. That’s no coincidence. The Celtics need offense from anywhere that they can get it from. If they don’t get it, they’ll lose this game and their season will be over.
The Knicks had more turnovers in the first half of game 4 than they did in the 2nd half. The Knicks only scored 35 points in the 1st half–they scored 30 points in the 3rd quarter. This is no coincidence. The Knicks had the least turnovers in the league this season and they’ve kept that pace in the playoffs with 12.8 turnovers per game. If the Celtics can get the Knicks to turn the ball over, they’ll disrupt their offensive flow and keep them from scoring points.
Defend the Pick and Roll
The Celtics have to start paying more attention to pick and roll penetration–and paint penetration in general. The Knicks go through stretches where they like to use Carmelo Anthony as a floor spacer and a stretch power forward instead of isolating him on the block. Raymond Felton had a huge 3rd quarter last game because of this strategy and the Celtics didn’t have anyone who could stay in front of him.
Its very rare that you survive such a defensive collapse, but the Celtics did it last game somehow. If it happens again, it isn’t likely that they’ll survive again. They can’t allow Raymond Felton to defeat them at the rim and they can’t allow 30 point quarters at all with they way that their offense has performed in the postseason.
Michael Donnell Sykes, II is an NBA writer that straddles the fine line between statistical value in basketball and eye analysis. He's written for sports blogs previously before his stop at Hardwood Houdini. He's the creator of "What's Left on the Floor" and also writes with the Sports Blog Movement and Baselinehoops.com. E mail him at [email protected] for any further questions.