Celtics on brink of elimination after Game 3 loss
Boston fans are well acquainted with 0-3 deficits in playoff series. The Red Sox famously overcame an 0-3 deficit to top the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, and the Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead against the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs to end their season.
Now, thanks to their 90-76 loss Friday night, the Celtics are facing an 0-3 hole in their first-round series against the New York Knicks. Unlike in hockey and baseball, no basketball team has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit to win the series.
The Celtics do not look like they’re primed to become the first basketball team to accomplish the feat; their roster is old and injured, and even an emotional pregame ceremony honoring the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings and first responders could not breathe life into the men in green. Still, you never know what could happen in the playoffs. In that vein, here’s a look at some of the bright spots from the loss and some of the downers.
- Paul Pierce headlined a struggling Celtics offense, missing eight of his 10 shot attempts in the first half and managing 17 points on the night thanks only to an improved second half when the game was practically over anyway. The showing is more of the same from Pierce, who has not been good all series. He has 16 turnovers through the first three playoff games, the most of any player in the postseason this year.
- The Celtics’ 31-point effort in the first half was so embarrassing for Boston fans that the team was booed as it left the court. It didn’t help that the Celtics’ worst performance of the half came toward the end of the second quarter. Boston tightened the score to 26-23 with 9:19 remaining in the half before getting outscored 21-8 in the final nine minutes to exit the half with a 16-point deficit.
- Boston still has no answer for Carmelo Anthony, who recorded a game-high 26 points on Friday night. Anthony leads all postseason players with an average of 32 points per game and is blowing everyone else away, as that total is four points more than his closest competition.
- Boston recorded one victory Friday night: three Knicks fans were kicked out of the Garden in the fourth quarter, and it may have been the most cheered for event of the game.
- The Knicks stirred up some emotion in the Celtics with 7:06 left in the game when J.R. Smith knocked down Jason Terry with a flagrant elbow, earning himself a flagrant-2 which results in an automatic ejection. Terry tried to charge at Smith, but Doc Rivers held Terry back.
The Celtics will fight to stay alive in Game 4 on Sunday, April 28 at 1 p.m. Should the Celtics get swept, it will be the first playoff sweep for Boston since Kevin Garnett joined the team in 2007.