BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics have fallen into a situation in which no other team in NBA history has ever climbed out of; being down 0-3 in a playoff series, They lost to the New York Knicks 90-74 Friday night at TD Garden.
The Celtics and Knicks both decided to go with different lineups. For Boston, it was Avery Bradley, Jason Terry, Paul Pierce, Jeff Green, and Kevin Garnett. For New York, it was Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony, and Tyson Chandler.
Prigioni, someone who isn't known for his scoring, had three three-point-shots in the first half. He was being aggressive on the pick-and-roll with Chandler, and it benefited the Knicks.
Terry scored first for Boston. With his two points, this was the first points the Celtics had scored since nine minutes left in the fourth quarter of game two. Boston had good shots and cut to the basket well in the first half, but they just couldn't finish shots.
New York shot 6/12 from behind the three-point-line in the first half, with prigioni having three of those shots. The Knicks went at the Celtics in the second quarter, and it showed. They took the quarter 24-13, and began running away with the game. At the half, Boston was down 47-31; a 16 point deficit.
The second half was the same story. Boston could not score efficiently or stop New York. Every time the Celtics scored, the Knicks scored, and then scored again and again. It wasn't like Boston played bad defense. New York just played much better offense.
With about seven minutes left in the game, Terry was guarding Smith near the three-point-line. Terry swiped for the ball. Smith felt that it was a foul, so, out of frustration, he elbowed Terry in the face. A foul was called immediately on him, and he walked away. Terry tried to run after him, but Green and an official held him back. Within a minute of the foul call, Smith was called for a flagrant two foul, and ejected from the game.
The main problems for Boston throughout the game were Felton, Anthony, and Kenyon Martin. Felton drove to the rim every time he looked to score (which was often). Anthony, as always, got his. Every shot he took was contested, but he still hit all the tough ones. Martin was as active as he's been since signing with the Knicks this year. He was all over the boards, and had many put-backs and tips.
The game was pretty much over after the third quarter ended. New York still led 17, and Boston had done nothing to limit their offense.
Anthony scored a game-high 26 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Felton and Smith both scored 15 points each, with Felton also having 10 assists (a double-double). No other Knick was in double-figures, but Prigioni did finish with nine points and a near record-breaking five steals. He needed two more steals to tie the playoff record for steals in a game (seven).
It was a low, but balanced attack for Boston. Green scored a team-high 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Pierce scored 17 points (6-15 FGM-A) on a bad shooting night. Terry scored 14 points in his first start of the playoffs. Garnett scored 12 points and grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds. Bradley had nothing going, scoring just two points. The bench combined for 12 points. Pierce and Green both had five turnovers in the game.
Time will tell whether Smith will get a suspension for his late-game elbow on Terry. Game four of this playoff series will be on Sunday, April 28th, at 1:00 PM. The game will be televised on ABC. Boston will try to win a game to make the series 3-1 New York. If the Celtics are going to be successful, they need Pierce to play better, the bench to contribute, and Green to keep being aggressive. Only then will they have a chance to beat the Knicks.
Tonight: Celtics Post Game Show - immediately following the game