Celtics drop second game of playoff series: weighing the positives and negatives of the game
After an 87-71 loss to the New York Knicks in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series, the Boston Celtics trail 2-0 in the best-of-seven series. Their season is guaranteed just two more games, starting Friday night with Game 3 at TD Garden, and with the way the Celtics are playing, their season won’t last much longer.
Through two games, the Knicks have been sturdier defensively and simply better in the second half, but most of all they have Carmelo Anthony, who has been effective in the critical moments. He scored 34 points Tuesday and was at his best in the second half, making 8 of 13 shots from the field as the Knicks turned a close game into a stunning rout, outscoring the Celtics 45-23 over the final 24 minutes.
The Knicks are halfway to winning their first playoff series since 2000. The series moves to Boston for the next two games, and a surely emotional scene at TD Garden. Game 3 on Friday at 8 p.m. will be the Celtics’ first game at home since the Boston Marathon bombings. It will be extremely important, as no NBA team has ever come back to win a series from a 0-3 deficit.
- Boston appeared to have momentum early. They built a 20-15 lead in the first quarter on Jason Terry‘s first field goal of the series. After going 0-for-5 in Game 1, Terry’s 3-pointer was the first of three in the first half.
- The Celtics led the Knicks by a 48-42 margin at halftime, shot 56 percent from the field and held the Knicks to 38 percent shooting. The Celtics have led at halftime in both games of the series.
- The Celtics’ strong first half was partly due to effectively keeping Anthony in check, as he was 3-for-11 in the first half. Their play in the first half proves that if the Celtics can put in equal efforts in both halves, they are good enough to beat the Knicks.
- In the second half, the Celtics made 7 of 36 shots. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Boston’s 19.4 field-goal percentage after halftime was the worst shooting percentage in any half of a playoff game in the last 15 seasons.
- Paul Pierce scored a team-high 18 points on 8-of-19 shooting with six rebounds and six assists but was again plagued by turnovers, committing a team-high five and was a game-worst minus-28 in plus/minus.
- Kevin Garnett finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds but played a mere 24 minutes due to foul trouble that limited his effectiveness for much of the first three quarters on a night the Celtics desperately needed to lean on him.