NEW YORK – Kevin Garnett is stepping up on both ends o carry the Boston Celtics to a 45-39 halftime lead over the New York Knicks in Game 5. The Celtics, down 3-1 in the series, got off to the type of deflating start that has become synonymous with the phrase “second half” over the past week. But Brandon Bass hit all four of his shots and played good defense on Carmelo Anthony to get the Celtics back on top.
But a quick turnaround due to some transition buckets and sharp perimeter passing got the Celtics to within two points by the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett dominated with variations of the pick and roll for seemingly the first time in the series.
The Celtics “tightened up the screws” as Doc Rivers put it in his first quarter interview to close out the half, going on an 11-4 run after a Knicks timeout with five minutes left in the half. Avery Bradley misses a few shots, but then went coast to coast to hit a nice finger roll in traffic.
KG and Pierce then scored on two pick-and-rolls with Garnett finishing at the rim. With Brandon Bass, Kenyon Martin and Tyson Chandler hitting the bench with three fouls, the lane suddenly became more open for both sides. While the Celtics capitalized by scoring seven points in the final 1:35, the Knicks only managed a once a decade Marcus Camby layup.
Not to be ignored, Carmelo Anthony is off to a hot start, dropping 14 points on 6-for-14 shooting. Melo started off hot but Bass, who has been the star of the game, managed to hold him in check for most of the second quarter before getting in foul trouble.