Celtics vs Knicks: Win or go home Part 3

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics continue their quest to become the first team in NBA history to come back from being down 0-3 to win a series.

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New York Knicks (3-2) at Boston Celtics (2-3)
Friday, May 3, 2013
7:00 PM ET
Playoff Game #6, Home Game #3
TV: ESPN, NBAC, CSNNE, MSG
TD Garden
Referees: Ken Mauer, Ed Malloy, Bennett Salvatore


Game Thread l Chat

Boston Celtics Tickets

The Celtics continue their quest to become the first team in NBA history to come back from being down 0-3 to win a series. Doc looked to the 2004 Red Sox for inspiration for the Celtics comeback hopes. The Red Sox comeback is legendary in Boston. It helps that it was against another hated New York team, the Yankees. After losing the first three games of the series, the Red Sox won 4 straight to beat the Yankees and went on to sweep St. Louis to win the World Series.

Not only has no team come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a series, but only three times in NBA history has a team rallied from an 0-3 deficit to even force a game 7 in a series. The Knicks did it in 1951 against the Rochester Royals, the Denver Nuggets came back against Utah in `94 and Portland did against Dallas in 2003. None were able to capitalize and win that 7th game, however.

The 2004 Red Sox title win ended an 86-year title drought so at least the Celtics haven't waited that long. The Knicks have to be feeling some pressure after allowing the Celtics to win the last 2 games, one of which was on their home court. They haven't won a playoff series since 2000, and their last championship came in 1973. Since it was the NY Yankees that the Red Sox came back to beat in 2004, the Knicks are also painfully aware of this story and are trying to use it as a motivation themselves to not repeat their baseball brethren's collapse. The Celtics have the pressure of needing to win to keep their season alive, but they have the momentum after winning the last two games.

The Knicks did a lot of trash talking before game 5. JR Smith said that the Celtics only won because he wasn't playing in game 4 and also denied knowing who Jason Terry is. Kenyon Martin talked about giving the Celtics a funeral in game 5 and they all wore black funeral clothes to the game. The Celtics refused to respond before the game, preferring to concentrate on basketball. Jordan Crawford, who didn't play in game 5, caused a skirmish after the game and hopefully that won't fire up the Knicks going into game 6. The Celtics need to once again concentrate on basketball and force game 7.

Probable Starting Matchups

Probable Starters

Point Guard

vs

Avery Bradley vs Pablo Prigioni

Shooting Guard

vs

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

Quinton Richardson

Steve Novak

Jason Kidd

Kenyon Martin

JR Smith

Marcus Camby

Injuries

Amar'e Stoudemire (knee) out


Keys to the Game

Bench Play - In game 5, Doc went just 7 deep with Jason Terry and Terrence Williams the only reserves he played. Both played well, combining for 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists, and most importantly, Williams handled the ball well against the Knicks pressure and also played some good defense. It would be great to get a bit more from the bench so as not to burn out the starters.

Defense - Defense wins championships and the Celtics ability to win this game will once again depend on their ability to get stops. The Celtics must once again stay on the Knicks shooters beyond the arc as if they get hot, they can bury you with 3 pointers. They also have to defend the paint to keep them from getting easy scores at the basket.

Execution on Offense - The Celtics have improved their execution on offense in the past 2 games. They have to continue to move the ball and find the open man. They also have to make smart passes and limit turnovers as the Knicks are very good at scoring off of them.

Be Aggressive - The Celtics must be the more aggressive team. They have to win the 50-50 balls. They must be more aggressive in diving for loose balls, going for rebounds, and driving to the basket. The more aggressive team usually gets the benefit of the calls and also usually wins the game. We know the Knicks are going to be aggressive and try to close out the series and the Celtics must be more so. The Celtics simply must want this game more than the Knicks.

Rebound - The Celtics must make an effort to crash the boards and win the rebounding battle. They can limit the Knicks second chance points as well as their fast breaks by beating them to the rebounds. It is crucial for every player to fight for rebounds.

X-Factors

Home Court, Heart and Officiating

This game is going to come down to heart. How much do the Celtics really want this game. They have played well at home over the season and although they didn't respond to the home crowd in game 3, they won game 4 at home. Now they need to feed off the crowd and once again, dig deep to try to force a game 7 and keep their playoff hopes alive.

After seeing the officiating crew, this becomes an X-Factor. All 3 officials can be good and they can also be very bad, depending on whether they have an agenda in a particular game. We have to hope for the best but be ready to play 5 on 8 if necessary.

Official Report

Ken Mauer

Veteran NBA official Ken Mauer has officiated 1,545 regular season, 132 playoff, and 10 Finals games during his 26-season career. He was also a member of the crew that officiated the 1993 Europe Tour in London and the 2005 Denver All- Star game. Mauer’s resume includes six years of CBA officiating experience, nine years of collegiate officiating experience and 12 years of high school officiating experience in Minnesota. After spending most of his life in Minnesota, Mauer has settled in Ft. Myers, Fla. where he can still watch his cousin, Joe Mauer, with the Twins in spring training. Mauer was a three sport athlete in college at Minnesota where in 1977 he recieved All Big 10 baseball honors.

Mauer is very quick to call technicals and in one game, once ejected Doc less than 3 minutes into a game, and that was before the new "Respect the Game" rules. In a recent Timberwolves game he might have set the record by calling 5 technicals in a 10 second span. Just what we need, another Tech- happy ref. The Celtics have to be on their best behavior with Mauer calling the game.

Mauer was one of the refs charged with tax evasion and obstructing federal tax laws for receiving substantial taxable income from 1989 through 1994 and failing to declare it. He was one of the refs in the controversial Miami/Dallas Finals where the foul calls were totally lopsided, giving the Heat the title. In a Suns/OKC game last season, Mauer told Zabian Dowdell not to be a bitch about the calls. Dowdell asked him if he'd say that off the court and Mauer ejected him from the game for it.

The Celtics are 1-3 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 games with Mauer officiating. In 3 games last season he let both teams play and the officiating was good. In one loss to the Hawks last season, 18 fouls were called on the Celtics and 8 on the Hawks and the officiating was terrible. In his last game for the Celtics last season, ECF Game 2 vs the Heat, the Heat shot 47 free throws to 29 for the Celtics. He failed to call a foul on Wade for hitting Rondo in the head on a layup even though he was in position to see it clearly. He also failed to call a foul on Wade for kicking KG who was going up for a layup when he was again the ref in position to do so. He called a questionable clear path foul on Pietrus. Pierce fouled out on a very questionable call, joining Pietrus and Dooling with 6 fouls. LeBron James took 24 free throws himself. The first loss this season was in OT to the Bucks who shot 36 free throws to 20 for the Celtics. They refused to call an intentional foul at the end to stop the clock. They also ignored an elbow by Ilyasova to Green's head that left him on the floor and injured, even through Mauer was right there and saw the play.

It's tough to know which Mauer will show up - the good one that lets them play or the bad one that tries to control the game and make it about himself. The second loss was to New Orleans where the Hornets shot 31 free throws to 16 for the Celtics and the officiating wasn't bad in spite of the free throw disparity. The third loss was to the Hawks who shot 36 free throws to 20 for the Celtics and the officiating was terrible and biased toward the Hawks the entire game, especially in OT. The only win with Mauer this season was against the Raptors where the Celtics shot 35 free throws to 19 for the Raptors and the calls seemed to favor the Celtics. The Knicks are 2-1 this season and 4-6 in the last 10 games with Mauer. His home W/L record this season is 44-24.

Ed Malloy

Malloy has officiated 629 regular season NBA games and 32 playoff games, including three Finals games, over the past 10 seasons. Prior to joining the NBA, Malloy officiated for one season in the NBA D-League, three seasons in the CBA and three seasons in the WNBA. He worked the 2002 NBA D-League Finals and the 2001 CBA Finals. Malloy attended St. Joseph’s University before transferring to Philadelphia University, where he was a member of the basketball team and named the ECAC Player of the Year in 1993 and went on to earn a degree in Marketing. While in high school at Cardinal O’Hara, he was named the 1989 Most Outstanding Player in Philadelphia for his achievements on the basketball court. Ed Malloy joins Tim Donaghy, Duke Callahan and Joe Crawford as referees who graduated from Cardinal O'hara HS in Philly.

In 2003, when Doc was with Orlando, Malloy called a technical foul on Andrew DeClercq for staring. Doc called it one of the worst calls he ever saw (boy has he seen a lot worse since then!)and he said that he felt that Malloy had been intimidated all night. Fast forward to the Celtics game in Utah two seasons ago when Malloy, no longer intimidated, called 2 quick technicals on Doc and ejected him. Here is Doc's version of those calls.

"I just told Ed [Malloy], please keep officiating the game," said Rivers. "That’s all I said. I thought the play before [the technical] was a clear travel in front of him. So I just said, ‘Hey Ed, it’d be nice if you’d keep officiating throughout.’ He gave me a tech. Then I said, ‘That’s the best call you’ve made all night.’ Usually, it’s nice to earn them, but [Monday's technicals were] another bad call."

Malloy was also on the crew that officiated game 1 of the Miami series in the 2010 playoffs where 5 technicals were called and Kevin Garnett was ejected. He also officiated game 1 of the Heat series in 2011. In that game, after ignoring a flagrant foul by James Jones and then a second flagrant foul by Dwyane Wade, Malloy ejected Pierce for technicals when he objected to both flagrants against him in less than a minute. Last season he called game 2 vs the Hawks in the playoffs. The Celtics shot 31 free throws in that game vs 20 for the Hawks and got the benefit of most close calls. He also called game 5 in the Philly series in which the Celtics shot 33 free throws to 16 for the Sixers and again the Celtics got the benefit of close calls.

The Celtics are 1-4 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 games with Malloy as an official. The first regular season game, after a loss to Brooklyn in the preseason, was the win over the Lakers at home where the Celtics shot 25 free throws to 30 for the Lakers and the officiating wasn't all that bad. The second game was the loss on the road to the Bobcats where the Celtics took 25 free throws to 30 for the Bobcats and the officiating was ok. The last game was the loss at Dallas where the Mavericks took 28 free throws to 27 for the Celtics and the officiating was okay. The most recent loss was to the Raptors where Toronto took 28 free throws to 13 for the Celtics and there were more than a few questionable calls against the Celtics. He can be good and he can be very very bad on any given night. The Knicks are 0-4 this season and 4-6 over their last 10 games with Malloy. He isn't necessarily influenced by the home crowd. His home W/L record is 41-32.

Bennett Salvatore

Bennett Salvatore has been an official in the NBA for the past 30 seasons, and has worked 1,684 regular season and 203 playoff games including 25 NBA Finals games. The veteran official has also worked the 1993 and 2002 NBA All-Star Games, the 1993 McDonald’s Championship in Munich, Germany, and the 1997 Mexico Challenge. Prior to joining the NBA, Salvatore spent two years officiating in the CBA, and also has 10 years officiating high school. Salvatore missed the entire 2011-12 season with an injury.

Salvatore may just be the worst ref in the league, and that is saying a lot. Almost always one team or the other gets an advantage when he is officiating and I'll give you a hint, it usually isn't the Celtics.

Salvatore made one of the most controversial calls in NBA finals history in game 5 of the 2006 finals. The call basically gave the Heat their championship. Here is Bill Simmons' take on the call.

Salvatore called the foul on Wade's final drive in overtime (remember, the call where ABC couldn't find a replay to show that anyone touched him?) even though he was standing at midcourt a full 35-40 feet from the play, and even though two other refs were closer to the play. Not only was that NOT his call, he butchered it.

Another of Salvatore's "butchered" calls was in the 2008 conference finals when he waved off a contested 3-pointer that Paul Pierce had hoisted over Richard Hamilton, inducing Hamilton to leave his feet with a ball fake and land on Pierce's back. Pierce, however, was charged with an offensive foul for creating the contact with Hamilton. It was a terrible call. The thing with Salvatore is you never know what you will get. He can be good but he can also be very, very bad.

The Celtics are 4-0 this season and 8-2 in their last 10 games with Salvatore. The first win this season was over Portland at home in which the Blazers shot 37 free throws to just 20 for the Celtics. The second win was over the Kings where they shot 26 free throws to 20 for the Celtics. The third win was over the Bobcats where Charlotte shot 21 free throws to 20 for the Celtics. The 4th win was against Orlando where the Celtics shot 19 free throws to 15 for the Magic and the refs pretty much let them play. Despite the free throw disparities, the officiating wasn't all that bad in the first 3 games. The Knicks are 3-1 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 games with Salvatore. His home W/L record is 42-25.

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