|Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images|
By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)
Friday, April 26th, 2013
Game 3 Post Game Recap
Final Score: New York Knicks: 90 Boston Celtics: 76
The Knicks are one win away from sweeping the Celtics and winning their first playoff series in 13 years after giving the Celtics a thorough whooping tonight in Boston. Unlike the first two games in the series when the Celtics were able to make some noise in the first half, they were taken out of the game right from the start tonight as the Knicks led basically the whole way. The Knicks dominated right from the opening tip and took a commanding 3-0 lead in the series, basically guaranteeing themselves a visit to the second round as no team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in a seven-game series.
- The Knicks defense was dominant in the second halves of the first two games and tonight they brought that effort for the full four quarters. The Knicks played suffocating defense throughout the night, holding the Celtics to 40 percent shooting and forcing them into tough shots all night. The defense the Knicks have played against the Celtics in the series has actually been historic, as the Celtics have never previously scored less than 80 points in three straight games in the shot clock era. The Celtics have scored only 225 points in the series thus far, the least amount scored in a three game playoff stretch in the history of the team. Tonight the Knicks ratcheted up the defensive pressure on the perimeter especially, forcing 18 team turnovers, including 14 steals, and converting those turnovers into 26 points. The two biggest weapons for the Celtics in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett struggled, shooting a combined 11 of 28.
- Carmelo Anthony once again led the Knicks in the scoring department tonight, pouring in 26 points on 12 of 25 from the field. Anthony was sharp tonight on the offensive end, scoring in a variety of ways from all over the court. He knocked down a couple of jumpers and was on the receiving end of a nice alley-oop pass as well. The Celtics, like many teams in the NBA, do not have a player capable of contacting Anthony and it has shown throughout the series.
- Raymond Felton continued his strong series tonight with a solid double-double, scoring 15 points and handing out 10 assists. Felton said earlier Friday that this was one of the best seasons he has had in his career and it showed tonight as he led another strong Knicks performance. Felton added two rebounds, two steals and one block as well, only turning the ball over twice. If Felton plays as well as he has throughout this series and down the stretch of the regular season the Knicks will be extremely hard to beat.
- Pablo Prigioni set the tone early for the Knicks tonight by knocking down three long balls in the first quarter. Prigioni was a menace on the defensive end as well tonight, nagging the Celtics perimeter players all night and exposing the fact that they do not have a player capable of playing point guard as he had five steals in the game. The Knicks have looked much better in games 2 and 3 with Prigioni in the lineup after he missed Game 1 with an ankle injury. Jason Kidd didn’t let Prigioni be the only elder statesmen to have a strong game, as he added six rebounds and assists of his own in addition to two blocks and great defense once again on the likes of Pierce.
- Tyson Chandler looked most like himself tonight as he has at any time in the series. Chandler played 30 minutes tonight and grabbed eight rebounds while scoring six points. Kenyon Martin offered the usual relief for Chandler and performed well also, bringing the intensity on the defensive end the Knicks lacked last season when Chandler would sit on the bench. Martin finished the game with five points, four rebounds and one block.
- Steve Novak showed up a little bit in the game tonight and added some meaningful minutes for the Knicks. Novak had a sequence in the game in which he gave great help defense on Garnett and then came back down the other end and knocked down a three pointer, basically putting a dagger in the game for the Knicks. On the night Novak scored eight points, grabbed two rebounds and had one steal.
- J.R. Smith was having another strong game for the Knicks scoring 15 points, grabbing four rebounds, dishing three assists and getting two steals before he let his emotions get the best of him. Jason Terry had a hard swipe at the ball while Smith was holding onto it in the fourth quarter and Smith did not appreciate it, retaliating with a hard elbow that connected in Terry’s face. Smith was thrown out the game with a flagrant-2 foul and could possibly be suspended for Game 4. If Smith is indeed suspended it will be a big blow to the Knicks second unit as Smith has been important to the Knicks success. Even if he is not suspended for Game 4 he will have to watch his cool for the remainder of the playoffs as another flagrant foul will result in an automatic suspension.
- The Knicks did not get to the foul line often tonight and when they did the results were not positive. They took only eight free throws and made three of them, an unacceptable number for both categories as they need to get to the line more often for easy points and convert the chances given to them.