Tag: Celtics Knicks

Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Garnett, Jeff Green

Knicks/Celtics Game 6 all about ‘Melo, New York


We know exactly what we are going to get from the Boston Celtics in Game 6 Friday night — they are going to defend hard, Kevin Garnett is going to crash the boards and get his points, Paul Pierce will create looks for himself. They will scrap, that’s what champions on the verge of elimination do.

What are we going to get from the Knicks on offense?

That is the simple question of this series. It’s not about wearing black or what anybody said about Carmelo Anthony’s wife. That’s the sideshow the Knick’s can’t get caught up in (but have).

New York was strong on offense in the regular season, an offensive rating of 106.6 points per 100 possessions; they shared the ball well and especially during their late-season winning streak moved the ball from strong to weak beautifully.

Boston’s stout defense was always going to be a challenge, but the Knicks have averaged 96.3 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs.

The reason is they have fallen back in love with isolation basketball — which is what the Celtics defense is set up to stop.

In the regular season, the Knicks averaged 15 isolation sets a game (well above the league average of 10), but in this series they have averaged 26 a game (stats via ESPN).

By the time you get to the playoffs against a good defensive team, they are going to take away your first option — whatever the primary goal of your offensive set is will not be easy to get. Nor will the second by the time you are five games into a series — the other team has studied and seen what you want to run. You need to beat good teams with your third, your fourth options.

But the Knicks offense has broken down when it gets past the first couple options, so they throw the ball to Carmelo Anthony or J.R. Smith and ask them to create something. That’s hard to do against Boston.

This is not to say Boston has no say in the outcome tonight — at home they could get a big night from Jeff Green or Jason Terry, giving them enough scoring to overwhelm the Knicks for a night.

But New York has to win one of two to advance. New York is the better team, but it has to be the best version of itself to advance. It has to live up to its promise and not revert to isolation basketball.

We’ll see if they can do that Friday night.

PBT Monday morning one liners

Rajon Rondo

Mike D’Antoni is not as sold on Rajon Rondo as everybody else.

This is what the screwed up politics of the Knicks front office does — neither Amar’e Stoudemire or Carmelo Anthony would really say anything about Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni. That’s not because they don’t like them, it’s fear of crossing an owner nobody can predict. And it’s not a good thing.

Gilbert Arenas had 20 points in Game 4, another Magic loss. He played and scored because he was the only guard attacking. Which gets at the heart of issues in Orlando — in their 2009 run to the finals guys did create their own shots outside of Howard doing everything.

Interesting interview with the Jazz brain trust. They are not changing how business is done in Utah.

Memphis’ Tony Allen not really buying the whole “Manu Ginobili is hurt” thing.

This is a weak NBA Draft coming up, which leads to an interesting argument by ESPN’s David Thorpe (behind the ESPN pay wall): In this draft you do draft for need. Usually the preferred theory among teams and GMs is to draft the best player out there and collect talent, but if the talent isn’t all that then get stuff that fits better.

Antonio McDyess knows this is a must-win game for the Spurs.

Larry Brown would like to get back into coaching. I know, you’re stunned.

Sign of things to come — the Lakers are letting three members of their training staff go after the season. Why? Because they don’t want to pay them when there will not be players to work with in the fall when the lockout causes games to be missed. I want to be optimistic about a solution being found, but all around teams and players are preparing for a siege.

NBA Playoffs: Knicks take one more swing at Celtics

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks - Game Three
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Let’s start with the injury report: No Chauncey Billups and maybe no Amar’e Stoudemire for the New York Knicks. No Shaquille O’Neal for Boston, but that has not mattered.

New York always had just a puncher’s chance in this series — they were less talented but if Stoudemire could take over one game, if Anthony took over another, if Billups drained some big late shots then….

Nope. The Knicks landed their haymakers in Game 1 (Stoudemire was brilliant, so the Knicks went away from him in the final two minutes) and Game 2 (‘Melo went off) and it didn’t matter. The Celtics withstood the blows, executed late and won. Billups has been out since tweaking his knee late in Game 1 and been a non factor.

Game 3? That was pretty much where the talent levels of these teams are at. Boston was up 9-0 to start the game and it never felt any closer than that in a blowout win.

No Stoudemire and Billups should mean New York gives the Celtics the Full D’Antoni and just tries to run the into the ground. Run on everything. Makes and misses. But that’s probably not what happens, the ball will stick when it hits ‘Melo’s hands, the Celtics will run a hard double team at him and we’ll see what Shawne Williams and Toney Douglas can do. And Jared Jeffries, don’t forget Jared Jeffries. Meanwhile Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo will continue to have good series.

Boston knows the Heat are next and the more time off (likely a week, rumor is next weekend is when that series will start) the better. Their old legs could use it. But the Celtics are fully capable of going through the motions and losing — remember last year’s playoffs they were up 3-0 twice and lost Game 4 both times — forcing a Game 5 on Tuesday. It really is a matter of how focused they are on defense.

Everyone, including Spike Lee, knows how this movie ends. Boston is the better team, the Knicks wanted to make the playoffs and generate some excitement this season and they did that. The only question now is how long it drags out. And that is a matter of focus from the Celtics and how many Knicks can be put out on the court Sunday.

No Shaq in Game 4 for Celtics

Boston Celtics v Phoenix Suns

They clearly don’t need him against New York — Boston is up 3-0 in the series — but the plans to have Shaquille O’Neal back continues to be pushed back.

Doc Rivers has ruled Shaq out for Game 4 at Madison Square Garden Sunday, according to ESPN Boston.

“He’s not playing [Sunday],” said Rivers. “We didn’t do anything to see honestly. We didn’t practice, we just walked through. I’m not going to put him out on the floor.”

Not a big deal for Sunday. Boston blew out the Knicks in Game 3 at Madison Square Garden and now the series is merely a formality. Maybe it ends Sunday, maybe they go back to Boston for a Game 5 on Tuesday. But either way the writing is on the wall.

But the Celtics will need Shaq against the Heat in the next round and getting him some run before being thrown into that fire would have been a boost. The good news is rumors are it will be next weekend before that series starts, so Shaq will get plenty of time to get right.

No Shaq for Game 3 Friday, but Game 4 could happen

Injured Boston Celtics O'Neal talks to teammate Allen during the first quarter of Game 1 of their NBA Eastern Conference playoff series against the New York Knicks in Boston

Welcome back to Shaq Watch 2011…

Shaquille O’Neal has traveled with the team, he is in New York where maybe the bright lights will inspire him. But not for Game 3 Friday. He is out for that.

Our man A. Sherrod Blakely from Comcast New England caught up with Shaq, but he wasn’t in the mood for a conversation.

“I don’t want to talk. Let the players talk. I’m just trying to get back,” O’Neal said as he left the floor following Friday morning’s shoot-around.

The fact that the 39-year-old is with the team on the road is a signal that O’Neal’s health is improving. Although he is with the team for Games 3 and 4, Rivers said he’s definitely out for tonight’s Game 3 matchup and is doubtful for Game 4 on Sunday.

“He’s just feeling better,” Rivers said. “He’s close. I don’t know what he needs to show me. He’s not ready to play yet, but he’s getting closer. The fact that he’s getting closer, you bring him on the road.”

If the Knicks win Friday night, the odds you see Shaq in Game 4 or Game 5 goes up.