Boston Celtics @ New York Knicks, Game 2
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Time: 8:00PM on TNT/MSG
Probable Starting Lineups (With Game 1 stats)
PG: Avery Bradley (7-14 FGA, 15 points, 4 assists, 3 steals, 4 turnovers)
SG: Paul Pierce (6-15 FGA, 21 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 6 turnovers)
SF: Jeff Green (8-15 FGA, 26 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks, 6 turnovers)
PF: Brandon Bass (2-2 FGA, 4 points, 10 rebounds)
C: Kevin Garnett (4-12 FGA, 8 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 fouls)
PG: Raymond Felton (5-13 FGA, 13 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals)
SG: Pablo Prigioni (DNP in Game 1)
SF: Iman Shumpert (1-2 FGA, 3 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 turnovers)
PF: Carmelo Anthony (13-29 FGA, 36 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists)
C: Tyson Chandler (0-0 FGA, 0 points, 5 rebounds)
Key Bench Players (With Game 1 stats)
SG Jason Terry (0-5 FGA, 0 points, 3 rebounds in 20 minutes)
SG Courtney Lee (0-2 FGA, 4-4 FT, 4 points, 2 rebounds in 20 minutes)
SG Jordan Crawford (0-0, 0 points, 1 rebound in 11 minutes)
SG J.R. Smith (7-19 FGA, 15 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 turnovers in 32 minutes)
PF Kenyon Martin (4-7 FGA, 10 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks in 28 minutes)
PG Jason Kidd (2-6 FGA, 8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 0 turnovers in 35 minutes)
SF Steve Novak (0-0 FGA, 0 points in 5 minutes)
PG Rajon Rondo (OUT), C Kevin Garnett (Probable),
New York: G Pablo Prigioni (Probable), PF/C Amar’e Stoudemire (OUT), SF Chris Copeland (Day-To-Day), G Iman Shumpert (Day-To-Day)
Keys to the game:
1. Defense: The Knicks were able to hold off the Celtics in Game 1 by turning up the defensive intensity. Boston scored just 25 points in the second half and only eight in the fourth quarter. The Celtics turned the ball over 20 times, eight times in the final period. Without Rajon Rondo, they’re like a chicken running around with its head cut off. The Knicks will need to keep up their defensive intensity to take Game 2.
2. Can anyone stop Carmelo Anthony?: The scoring champion was sensational yet again on Saturday, scoring 36 points, with eight in the fourth. He struggled with his jumper in the middle two periods but wouldn’t be denied all day. He has received criticism for not passing the ball when he had it, just one assist. His defense, however, was very good one on one, and picked up four steals. More efficiency and unselfishness will make him more effective.
3. Bench: The X-factor in Game 1 was the reserves. Boston’s thin bench just scored four points without a single field goal (0-7). Between Jason Kidd, J.R. Smith, and Kenyon Martin, the Knicks’ reserves put up 33 points. My game ball would have went to Kidd, as he came up with some big defensive plays, offensive rebounds, timely steals, and two 3-pointers. With Pablo Prigioni back in the lineup, that should put Chris Copeland back on the bench where he can be potent when Anthony is getting rest.
4. Protect Home-court: Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are never ones to shy away from pressure, especially not from the lights of Madison Square Garden. In their first meeting this year, Garnett got into Anthony’s head and the Celtics stole one in NYC. The Garden was electric on Saturday, and that energy needs to be there to help them go up 2-0 in the series. The Celtics are 14-27 on the road this year compared to 27-13 at the TD Garden. Knicks are 23-18 on the road, and going up 2-0 will bode them well with the next two games in Beantown.
Prediction: Knicks win 102-86. Anthony keeps it up, puts up 41. Knicks ship up to Boston up two games to none.