After being criticized for being too old and on their way to the deconstruction yard, the Boston Celtics showed there is still some hope and basketball left in them, led by Paul Pierce, who didn’t get a single second of rest, as he put on his best performance of the series, keeping his team barely, yet still alive in the NBA playoffs.
Maybe the New York Knicks were a little bit overconfident in their ability to win by playing the most infantile style of basketball conceived letting Carmelo Anthony just shoot and shoot and shoot while the others fight from scraps. But maybe it was the Celtics’ offense finally clicking, although 44.7% from the field isn’t exactly what you call a fine shooting performance.
Without J.R. Smith, the Knicks didn’t have that third scorer to give them the boost they needed off the bench, and the advantage they have in that factor over the Celtics. Carmelo Anthony did score 36 points on a horrendous 10-35 from the field, helped by Raymond Felton with 27 points, but the bench added only 7 points, and the Knicks shot only 34.4% from the field in a 90-97 over time loss.
Pierce isn’t going to led his and Kevin Garnett’s era end without a fight. He scored 29 points, adding 8 rebounds and 6 assist while playing 50 minutes. Jeff Green had only two minutes of rest scoring 26. Kevin Garnett enjoyed the fact that Carmelo Anthony was missing so much and grabbed 17 rebounds while keeping it smart and not trying to shoot too much, finishing with 5-7 from the field.
But Jason Terry is probably the big hero of the game, finishing with 18 points off the bench, and coming up big in overtime. In hindsight, he was the one who got elbowed in the face by J.R. Smith, so his credit for the victory, making it 1-3 heading back to New York, is even bigger than anyone imagined.
Getting swept is something that no man that’s been in this league that long wants to do. It’s disheartening. Now we have to go into a hostile environment and they’re going to be trying to get it over with. They don’t want to come back here, but we do.
The Celtics almost let that one get away from them, dropping a 20 point lead from the third quarter, allowing the Knicks to make it 84-84 and send the game into overtime. For all their defensive abilities, they’re struggling to handle Raymond Felton who is having a tremendous series, but the Knicks are playing right into their hands by giving the ball to Anthony who doesn’t seem to care about his shooting percentages.
Is this 2004? The Red Sox coming back from the verge of a sweep to turn the series against the Yankees on its head? Probably not. This Celtics team isn’t that good, and they simply don’t have the offensive consistency to score 97 points, as funny as that sounds, on consecutive nights. As bad as Anthony was, the Knicks still managed to get the scoreboard moving from a certain point, and with J.R. Smith back for game 4, it seems like a mission impossible for the Celtics in their attempt to keep the series alive.