Celtics vs Knicks: Win or Go Home Part 2

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics will try once more to extend their series as they seek to get a rare win on the road.

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Boston Celtics (1-3) at New York Knicks (3-1)
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
7:00 PM ET
Playoff Game #5 Road Game #3
TV: TNT, CSNNE, MSG, the Score
Radio: WEEI, ESPN NY
Madison Square Garden
Referees: Joey Crawford, James Capers, Sean Corbin

Game Thread l Chat

Boston Celtics Tickets

The Celtics are once again in a must win situation to keep their season alive. They were able to hold on to win game 4 in overtime and force a game 5. Now, they must find a way to solve their second half offensive lapses and get a win on the road.

The Celtics are confident that they can solve the problems that have been plaguing them in this series. They have played well in the first half of every game but then in the 3rd quarter, the Knicks pick up their energy and defense and the Celtics have mental lapses and turn the ball over and somehow forget how to score. They have to find a way to play aggressively for 48 minutes on both ends of the court.

No team has come back from an 0-3 deficit in the playoffs and so the Knicks are confident that they can close the series out and were talking trash about the Celtics funeral in this game. The Celtics would send the series back to Boston for a Game 6 on Friday with a victory, and to get it they must come out with the same energy they had Sunday. But, they also have to keep that energy for 4 quarters. They can't afford another big let down after the half when they are on the road.

Probable Starters

Point Guard

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Avery Bradley vs Pablo Prigioni

Shooting Guard

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Paul Pierce vs Raymond Felton

Small Forward

vs

Jeff Green vs Iman Shumpert

Power Forward

vs

Brandon Bass vs Carmelo Anthony


Center

vs

Kevin Garnett vs Tyson Chandler

Celtics Reserves

Shavlik Randolph

Courtney Lee

Terrence Williams

Jason Terry

DJ White

Jordan Crawford

Chris Wilcox

Fab Melo

Injuries

Rajon Rondo (knee) out

Jared Sullinger (back) out

Knicks Reserves

James White

JR Smith

Quinton Richardson

Steve Novak

Jason Kidd

Kenyon Martin

Injuries

Marcus Camby (foot) questionable

Amar'e Stoudemire (knee) out

Key Matchups

vs

Brandon Bass vs Carmelo Anthony

Brandon Bass was the unsung hero of game 4 as he played excellent defense on Carmelo Anthony. The Celtics will need more of the same from him in this game. It would be a bonus if he would add some offense as well.

vs

Paul Pierce vs Raymond Felton

Felton has been coming up big against the Celtics in every game so far. He is averaging 17.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists. Felton scored 27 on Sunday and Pierce has got to find a way to slow him down and especially keep him from getting to the basket.

Honorable Mention

Kevin Garnett vs Tyson Chandler

The Celtics need KG to get more involved in the offense along with anchoring the defense. He also needs to find a way to stay out of foul trouble as he has been limited by quick fouls in previous games. The Celtics need to try to get KG going early and often.

Jason Terry vs JR Smith

The teams' 6th men have figured prominently in this series already. Jason Terry didn't show up in game 1 and was underwhelming in games 2 and 3. However, in game 3 he drew an elbow from JR Smith that resulted in the Knicks second leading scorer being suspended for game 4, when JET came up big in the 4th quarter and OT. The Celtics must try to limit Smith while at the same time getting production from Terry once again.

Keys to the Game

Bench Play - The Celtics need to get production from their bench. Jason Terry needs to come up big as does Jordan Crawford. It would be nice to get some production from Chris Wilcox and Terrence Williams also. But whoever Doc brings off the bench must hit their shots and be aggressive.

Ball Movement - The Celtics have to move the ball and quickly get up the court before the defense can get set up. They also have to avoid the urge to play hero ball and try to do too much. When they play team ball and move the ball to find the open man, the offense is much more efficient. At the same time, they must make smart passes and not turn the ball over as turnovers have doomed them in a couple of the games.

Rebound - Rebounding is always key. Rebounding takes effort and when they put the effort into crashing the boards, that effort shows up in other areas as well. They must continue to put out the effort to grab rebounds in order to limit the Knicks fast breaks and second chance baskets and to give themselves extra possessions.

Be Aggressive - The Celtics must be the more aggressive team. They have to be the team that dives for loose balls, crashes the boards, hustles for the 50-50 balls and drives to the basket to draw the fouls. They also must be aggressive on the defensive end, denying passes and preventing easy baskets. They have to want the win more and play like it.

Defense - Last, but certainly not least, the Celtics must make defense a priority. It's still true that defense wins championships and the Celtics must prevent the Knicks from getting easy baskets and open looks. They especially have to stay on their shooters on the 3 point line as the Knicks can kill you from outside. But they also have to guard the basket because the Knicks are also very good at getting to the hoop for easy baskets.

X-Factors

Focus on the Road and Officiating

The Celtics have struggled on the road the entire season and have already lost the first 2 games on the road in this series. Can they focus enough to play well enough on the road to get a win?

Officiating is always an X-Factor. Will the refs call the game fairly? Will they favor the Knicks who are at home? Will they call the game tight for both sides? No one knows, but the answers could be the difference in the game.

Official Report

Joey Crawford

Over more than three decades in the NBA, Joe Crawford has officiated 2,449 regular season and 293 playoff games, including 47 NBA Finals games. Crawford’s playoff and NBA Finals totals are the most among active NBA officials. Over his career, Crawford has officiated the 1986, 1992 and 2000 NBA All-Star Games, as well as the 1993 McDonald’s Championship in Munich, Germany. Prior to joining the NBA, Crawford officiated in the Eastern League (CBA) from 1974-76. He graduated from Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield, Pa. and is a member of the Cardinal O’Hara High School Hall of Fame. In 2008, Crawford earned a degree in Liberal studies from Neumann College. Officiating can be considered a Crawford "family affair," as his brother is veteran Major League Baseball umpire Jerry Crawford, and his father is retired Major League Baseball umpire Shag Crawford. Crawford is also very active in his hometown community of Philadelphia.

There is no shortage of controversy surrounding Joey Crawford, the biggest of which was a suspension for tossing Tim Duncan for laughing on the bench and then challenging him to a fight. He is known for his quickness to call technical fouls but also doesn't tend to be influenced by the home crowd as much as many younger refs seem to be. In the 2008 Playoffs, Crawford was chosen to officiate Game 4 of the Western Conference final between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers. In the closing seconds of the game, there was a no-call where the Spurs' Brent Barry was unquestionably fouled by Derek Fisher. Crawford was the closest official to the call, and the NBA later apologized for the lack of a call. Crawford was also one of the refs who was involved in the income tax evasion convictions and was suspended at that time as well.

He is widely viewed as one of the refs in the NBA who can officiate with an agenda and shows his biases on the court, hence the controversy that seems to follow him throughout his career. The Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10 with Crawford and 4-3 this season. He called the 89-86 win over the Wizards in which the Wizards shot 17 free throws to 13 for the Celtics and the refs pretty much let them play. He also called the 101-95 win over Chicago where the Bulls shot 31 free throws to 16 for the Celtics and there were more than a few questionable calls. The 3rd game this season was the OT win over the Mavs in which the Celtics shot 30 free throws to 17 for the Mavs and the calls seemed to favor the Celtics for the most part. One loss this season was against the Grizzlies in which Memphis took 22 free throws to 16 for the Celtics but the officiating was good for the most part. The second loss was to the Knicks where the Celtics shot 28 free throws to 20 for the Knicks. Again, the officiating was good for the most part. Another game that Crawford called was the win over the Suns where both teams shot 23 free throws and the officiating was good. The final game this season was a one point loss to the Hornets where the Hornets took 26 free throws to 17 for the Celtics and the calls seemed to favor the Hornets. The Knicks are 4-6 in their last 10 with Crawford and 3-5 this season. His home W/L record this season is 36-29 and he doesn't tend to be influenced by the home crowd. In fact, at times he seems to delight in antagonizing the home fans.

James Capers

The son of former NBA official James Capers Sr., James Capers has officiated 1,015 regular season games and 54 playoff games during his 17-season NBA career. Capers made his first NBA Finals appearance during the 2011-12 season. In addition to his NBA experience, Capers has six years of CBA officiating experience, including three CBA Finals and two CBA All-Star Games. The community-conscious Capers was the recipient of the 1998 Monarch Award as Chicago Sportsman of the Year for his career and community achievements.Capers also conducts NBA Read to Achieve programs at two Chicago Public schools. He has also volunteered to train referees for the Philippines basketball association.

I've seen several posts from Lakers fans who swear he hates the Lakers. At least he has that in his favor. the last game Capers called last season was game 2 of the ECF and the officiating was terrible in that game. The Heat shot 47 free throws to 29 for the Celtics. Pierce, Dooling and Pietrus all fouled out. There were bad calls and missed calls throughout the game. Lebron James took 24 free throws himself, only 4 less than the entire Celtics team.

The Celtics are 6-4 over their last 10 games with Capers and 2-2 this season. One loss this season was the Nets game that resulted in a brawl. Capers gave Doc a T for yelling to Rondo. They let the Nets get away with pushing and shoving and hard fouls the entire first half. The Nets shot 17 free throws to 5 for the Celtics in the first half and 3 of those free throws were on technicals. They did better in the second half after the brawl, but the refs' failure to call the game evenly in the first half led to the fight. one win was over the Pacers. The refs let them play in the first half and then started calling more on the Celtics in the second half. The Pacers shot 28 free throws to 18 for the Celtics. Capers also called a flagrant 2 on KG, which resulted in his ejection. The league downgraded the flagrant 2 upon review which shows that it was a bad call. The other win was a 2 point win over the Bulls where the Bulls shot 17 free throws to 12 for the Celtics and they let a lot go both ways. The second loss was to the Heat where Miami shot 28 free throws to 13 for the Celtics and the game was pretty much called one sided for the Heat. The Knicks are 4-2 this season and 5-5 over their last 10 games. He is a "homer ref" with a home W/L record this season of 47-20.

Sean Corbin

The 17-year NBA officiating veteran returns for the 2012-13 NBA Season having worked 954 regular season NBA games and 44 playoff games, along with the 2007 NBA All-Star Game, 1999 Japan Games in Tokyo and the 1996 Schick Rookie Game. Corbin spent the summer of 2004 officiating basketball at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Corbin’s resume includes four years officiating in the CBA and nine years of collegiate officiating experience in the Big East, Southern, Southeastern, Mid-Eastern Athletic and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conferences. He also has four years of high school basketball officiating experience. Corbin, a Baltimore native, has been involved in charitable efforts in the city, including working for healthcare for the homeless. His athletic accomplishments still remain notable in the Baltimore community, where he played baseball and basketball at Coppin State College and Towson Catholic High School.

The Celtics are 1-4 this year with one loss to the Nets in the preseason and a loss to the Bulls where the officiating was terrible (although most of the bad calls were by Marc Davis rather than Corbin). Even Hubie Brown was complaining about how bad many of the calls in that game were. Corbin also called a win over Golden State where the Celtics shot 28 free throws to 22 for the Warriors and if anything, the officiating seemed to favor the Celtics. He also called a one point loss to the Hornets where the Hornets shot 26 free throws to 17 for the Celtics and the calls seemed to favor New Orleans. The last game he called was a loss to the Nets where the Celtics shot 17 free throws to 28 for the Nets and the questionable calls went Brooklyn's way. Corbin didn't call any games last season so the his previous games with the Celtics were all in 2009-10. They are 5-5 in their last 10 games with Corbin. The Knicks are 3-3 this season and 3-7 in their last 10. His home W/L record is 37-24.

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