A 37-foot buzzer-beater was drilled by J.R. Smith to end the first quarter; after that, he struck the pose you see in the image above. Despite happening early in the night, it truly represents how things went for the Knicks the rest of the game. While the Celts remained competitive for the first half, a tirade of points from Carmelo Anthony led the New York Knicks to an absolutely dominant 32-to-11 third quarter and a convincing 87-71 victory over the Boston Celtics. The Knicks take a 2-0 as the series advances to Boston this Friday.
Carmelo Anthony led the way for New York with 34 points on 11-of-24 shooting. Felton pitched in with 16 and J.R. Smith had 19, who had an incredible buzzer-beater to end the first quarter. The Knicks defense was authoritative in the second half, holding the Boston Celtics to only 23 points. This is the lowest scoring half in Boston Celtics playoff history.
The Boston Celtics had a very balanced scoring night. Paul Pierce had 18 points on 8-of-19 shooting but six players had between six and 12 points. Jordan Crawford and Jason Terry were impressive at certain points in the game. Terry had nine points off of three timely three-pointers in the first half, but was not a factor in the second half. Crawford hit some shots to start the fourth quarter, totally ten points on 4-of-11 shooting.
This first quarter opened up feeling a lot like game one. The Madison Square Garden crowd was unbearably loud as the New York Knicks established an early four-point lead. While the differential wasn't much, it felt like the Knicks were in total control; Kevin Garnett picking up two fouls a couple minutes into the game didn't help either. However, Boston was able to grab the lead towards the end of the quarter with some nice defense and two timely threes by x-factors Jordan Crawford and Jason Terry. But J.R. Smith turned things around quickly, ending the quarter with a monstrous run of plays; he hit a sweet fadeaway jumper, took a charge from Paul Pierce....and then a nailed a huge 37-foot buzzer-beater. Knicks led 26-20 after one.
Things got off to a very slow start in the second quarter for both teams until the 9:58 mark when Boston embarked on an 11-to-0 run to take the lead. With a couple baskets by Avery Bradley and a huge three-pointer by Jason Terry, Boston took the lead, 31-27. At the 7:52 mark, Mike Woodson called a timeout for the Knicks to try and slow things down. The game slowed down a bit after this but with 5:30 to go in the period, Kevin Garnett picked up his third foul as the C's led 36-32, this would be a time for the game to swing either way but Boston answered. After a nasty fadeaway by Paul Pierce, he threw a gorgeous pass from half court to Jeff Green for a dunk. The Celtics maintained their lead and went into halftime with a 48-42 lead.
The third quarter was disastrous for the Boston Celtics as the New York Knicks surged with a 20-to-4 run. With some fantastic team defense, two three-pointers from Iman Shumpert and some nasty shots by Carmelo Anthony, New York took a 62-52 lead by the middle of the quarter. The Knicks didn't let up, as they outscored the Celtics 32-11 this entire quarter. If you go back to the end of the first half, Boston had been outscored 35-11 going into the fourth. There really is nothing good to say about this quarter; the the Knicks really stepped up their defense and Boston couldn't convert the few open looks they got. New York played impeccable defense and couldn't be stopped offensively; it truly was picture-perfect basketball.
Boston started out the fourth quarter with an 8-to-2 run to bring themselves back into the game, trailing nine at the 9:23 mark of the quarter. Jordan Crawford and Paul Pierce led the charge in bringing them to that point. But Carmelo Anthony would not allow the game to get any closer, drilling a shot anytime the lead was cut to nine. Led by Kenyon Martin, the Knicks eventually turned their dominant defense back on, allowing only four points from Boston the rest of the quarter. The Knicks pushed the lead back to 16 and eventually closed out the game, winning 87-71.
For those that are unable to watch the game live or would like to review key moments from tonight, here is a quarter-by-quarter recap:
- Pablo Prigioni returns from injury and is back in the starting lineup for the New York Knicks.
- Raymond Felton started the game defending Paul Pierce.
- Tenacious defense from the Knicks to start the game, causing some difficult passes and doubling Paul Pierce on the post with Prigioni leaving Avery Bradley.
- Kevin Garnett picks up his second foul with 8:39 to go. Chris Wilcox comes into make his first appearance in the NBA playoffs.
- This game is being called very tight. Anything that is arguably a foul is called.
- Celtics go small at the 6:06 mark. Jason Terry substitutes into the game for Chris Wilcox. I guess Doc has already given up on going big.
- Jeff Green only has three points at the 5:08 mark of the quarter but is playing very aggressively with multiple drives to the basket, including a nice one with Tyson Chandler defending him on a switch.
- One heck of a play by J.R. Smith at the 3:55 mark. He drove to the basket, spun to his left and passed to an open Kenyon Martin for a dunk.
- Jordan Crawford makes his first shot of his NBA playoff career, nailing a three to tie the game 15-15 at the 2:57 mark.
- Jason Terry finally hit a shot—a three—at the 1:57 mark.
- Boston is shooting 50% after the first quarter at 8-of-16 shooting.
- Celtics trail 26-20, thanks to J.R. Smith who is shooting 4-of-4 for nine points. Oh, by the way, he had a huge half court buzzer-beater to end the quarter.
- Kevin Garnett returns to the game to start the second quarter. He has two fouls.
- Boston takes the lead with a very quick 11-to-0 run! With some stifling defense and numerous jump shots, Boston has taken away loads of momentum from the Knicks.
- This run was capped off by a timely Jason Terry three-pointer which forced Mike Woodson to take a timeout.
- After the timeout, Carmelo Anthony ended Boston's run with a three from the corner.
- Kevin Garnett picked up his third foul with 5:30 mark.
- Paul Pierce had a stunning fadeaway at the 5:04 mark...the play after this he threw an alley-oop to Jeff Green from half court. Just beautiful.
- According to CSNNE's Mike Gorman, Boston has scored 16 points off of seven Knicks turnovers.
- Brandon Bass has played an absolutely terrific half with four points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes of play.
- There's nothing better than seeing Jason Terry show up tonight. He's playing a strong overall game, highlighted by three timely three-pointers for nine points.
- Boston has had a very balanced game tonight with seven players scoring in the half; Pierce with ten, Terry with nine, Green with eight, Bradley and Garnett with six, Crawford with five and Bass with four.
- Bad news for Courtney Lee...Doc Rivers seems to have taken him out of the rotation. He didn't play a single minute in the first half.
- Carmelo Anthony is shooting 3-of-11. Sounds great—but he has 15 points already since he is 8-of-9 from the free throw line.
- After a non-existant first half, Iman Shumpert comes out strong with two shots from three-point land to tie the game, 48-48.
- Jeff Green picks up his third foul at the 9:20 mark of the quarter; he and KG have three. One minute later KG picked up his fourth foul...this could be a major problem for the C's if this game is close late in the fourth.
- New York had a 13-to-2 run to start this half. Not good. Doc called a timeout with 8:49 to go and appeared to be very unhappy with the team—as he should be. Of course, after the commercial break, CSNNE reporter Greg Dickerson says that "Doc Rivers appeared more angry than I have ever seen him all season long."
- Carmelo Anthony is just a beast; his shot release is so unbelievably fast. At the 6:43 mark he went on a 5-0 run of his own, hitting a three-pointer and then a tough shot over Paul Pierce from the right baseline.
- The Knicks defense has really stepped up. Boston can't get an open look at all.
- After Jeff Green picked up his fourth foul at the 5:00 mark, Garnett entered the game...he also has four fouls. Risky.
- Paul Pierce made an amazing play at the 2:30 mark. He drove hard to the basket, drew a foul and miraculously spun the ball off his hand for the layup.
- Carmelo Anthony zoomed past Kevin Garnett off of a pick-and-roll at the 32-second mark and slammed it in. Exclamation point for the quarter, I'd say.
- However, as the quarter ended, Garnett had an emphatically blocked Iman Shumpert. Hopefully he gives the C's some momentum.
- New York outscored Boston 32-11 this quarter and now lead 74-59. There is nothing good to say at all.
- Jordan Crawford is the weirdest player of all time. At the 10:31 mark he drove hard to the basket yet decided to stop on a dime and fade away, draining a five-footer from inside the paint. Just crazy. Like Gorman said, he's "Inspector Gadget!"
- Paul Pierce with a huge three-pointer to cut the deficit to 11. Crawford followed that up with a pull-up jumper. Celtics trail 76-67 at the 9:23 mark.
- Reports say that Kevin Garnett is "feeling pain in his side," but will remain in the game. After the report, he went hard to the rim and got to the line, hitting two free throws.
- After a careless Paul Pierce pass to Kevin Garnett, J.R. Smith slammed down a dunk in transition. Knicks lead by 13 with 7:54 to go.
- After a few more minutes, the Knicks build their lead back to 15, leading 84-69 with 6:10 to go. After a Felton jumper, Doc Rivers would call a timeout.
- Kenyon Martin made a few nice defensive plays this quarter; it'd be nice to have a guy like that.
- Scoring only 23 points in the second half, this was the lowest scoring half in the playoff history of the Boston Celtics.