Game One notes: Celtics-Knicks

Game One notes: Celtics-Knicks

Celtics (56-26) vs. Knicks (42-40)

Team leaders

Celtics: PPG Paul Pierce (18.9); RPG Kevin Garnett (8.9); APG Rajon Rondo (11.2)

Knicks: PPG Carmelo Anthony (26.3); RPG Amare Stoudemire (8.2); APG Chauncey Billups (5.4)

Previous games
These two teams squared off in their respective regular season finales, with the Celtis resting all of their starters while the Knicks held out Anthony and Billups. The Boston reserves won 112-102, getting 39 combined points off the bench from Avery Bradley and Sasha Pavlovic.
Head-to-head
The Celtics swept the four-game season series, but their average margin of victory was just 6.5 points. Garnett killed New York this season, averaging 22.7 points and 11.3 rebounds in his three games against the orange and blue. New York was the only team in the NBA this season that Garnett averaged more than 20 points and 10 rebounds against.

Whos hot?
Anthony sat along with everybody else in the Knicks final regular season game, but he averaged 27.8 points and 8.5 rebounds over the four games prior. Bostons starters havent played since April 10.

Storylines
Both teams made significant roster changes during the season, and as a result, have been up and down at times. Pierce vs Anthony and Garnett vs. Stoudemire are the marquee matchups, but the point guard battle between Rondo and Billups will be one to keep an eye on. Rondo's speed vs Billups' power and veteran savvy could have a major impact on how this 13th playoff meeting between these two division rivals plays out.

Bruins admit they 'just weren't ready' to play Isles in shutout loss

bruins_claude_julien_011617.jpg

Bruins admit they 'just weren't ready' to play Isles in shutout loss

BOSTON – The Bruins are starting to run out of adjectives and descriptors for these “no-show” performances on home ice.

The Bruins made it twice in two months that they’ve dropped a disappointing dud to one of the Eastern Conference’s worst teams when they came out flat, and never showed any signs of life in a 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders. The lack of effort and pitiful results were particularly disappointing coming off a solid five game stretch where they’d engineered high effort wins over Florida, St. Louis and Philadelphia.

Patrice Bergeron finished a minus-3 on the afternoon, and said in quasi-disgust that he knew five minutes into the game that his team didn’t have “it” on Monday.

“Something that we talked [headed into Monday was] about building from the last few weeks, and how good it felt around the room, I guess, with winning games basically,” said Bergeron. “[The shutout loss] just shows that you have to show up every night and not take things for granted. I think we did [take things for granted] this afternoon.

“It was about finding someone to get us a shift to get us going basically. We had a few good shifts there, and we sustained a little bit of pressure there. But then we just couldn’t keep that for the next lines after going, we couldn’t sustain that or build from that. It was really the whole team throughout the lineup that didn’t show up and, you know, it’s obviously inexcusable, unacceptable.”

Claude Julien mentioned the compacted schedule and potential fatigue playing into the Bruins looking “flat” on Monday against the Islanders, and perhaps that is partially to blame for an uncharacteristically lifeless performance from the Black and Gold. But the B’s essentially did nothing for 60 minutes after not having played for 48 hours dating back to a Saturday afternoon matinee win over the Flyers, so the fatigue excuse is difficult to swallow.

Instead it looked like a Bruins team that thought they were going to roll out the pucks and beat the worst team in the Metro Division that had lost four-of-five games. Instead a defensive zone breakdown led to a Nikolay Kulemin goal midway through the second period, and the Bruins collapsed after that. Josh Bailey tucked a short side goal past a late-reacting Tuukka Rask for a soft serve special allowed by Boston’s ace goaltender, and Kulemin scored again in the second period once the Bruins began cheating at the offensive end of the ice.

To make matters worse, the Bruins showed zero fight or willingness to scratch and claw their way back into the game in the third period. Instead it looked like they quit on two points that could end up being extremely important at the end of the season.

It also looked like the Bruins weren’t ready to play, and that they overlooked the downtrodden Islanders for the second time in as many months.

“Maybe we took them a little lightly, but we just weren’t ready [to play],” said Brad Marchand. “We have to look ourselves in the mirror and all be a little bit better. We all have to be prepared for every game. You can’t look at the guy besides us and think he’s going to do the job. We have to take a little onus on ourselves and all be a little bit better. As a team, again, we have to play the system together and we have to back each other up. We have to play as one unit and we didn’t do that.”

It’s long past the point where the words even matter that the Bruins are uttering after games like Monday afternoon. Instead it’s about results and nothing else, and the B’s were nothing short of putrid in that category against the Islanders with points at a premium this time of year.