Celtics-Knicks Game 5 preview: Nothing to lose

Celtics-Knicks Game 5 preview: Nothing to lose
May 1, 2013, 12:30 pm
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NEW YORK — Although the back-and-forth banter has picked up some between Boston and New York since the Celtics' Game 4 win, there really is no need to get into a war of words now.

New York has a commanding 3-1 series lead, with the Celtics needing to do what has never been done before in NBA history -- win four straight games after dropping the first three. That's why as important as tonight's game is for the Celtics to keep their season alive, there is no sense that they are uptight about the moment.

"What do we have to lose?" said Celtics guard Jason Terry. "You lose, you're going home. It's as simple as that. Either way tonight, we're getting on a plane and going back to Boston, hopefully with a win."

A victory will not be easy against a Knicks team that finished the regular season with more home wins (31) than every team in the East except Miami (37). But of New York's 10 home losses this season, one came against the Celtics.

Still, that won't have any impact on the Knicks' confidence heading into tonight, which provides them yet another opportunity to send the Celtics home for the season.

"The Garden will be rocking (tonight)," said Knicks all-star Carmelo Anthony. "We’ll be prepared for that."

Here are some other factors to take into account as the Celtics try to keep their season alive tonight against the Knicks.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Boston will try to once again to make the Knicks as one-dimensional (Carmelo Anthony) as possible to start the game. Anthony had seven, first-quarter points in Game 4. He was the only New York player to have at least two made field goals in the first quarter, something that in part has to be attributed to the absence of J.R. Smith (one-game suspension).

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Brandon Bass vs. Carmelo Anthony: The C's have tried to downplay it as much as possible, but there was no getting around the defensive job Bass did on Anthony in Game 4. Anthony had 36 points, but he took 35 shots to get them. No player since Michael Jordan's 63-point performance in 1986, took that many shots (Jordan was 22-for-41 shooting) against the Celtics in a playoff game. If Bass can make Anthony work that hard to score, Boston's chances of pulling off an upset improve dramatically.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Paul Pierce has had at least five turnovers in each of the four games thus far, which is not a good sign for someone you know is going to have the ball in his hands a lot. But he is coming off a series-high 29 points on 9-for-20 shooting to go with eight rebounds and six assists. The turnovers hurt, obviously. But Pierce scoring that many points, some of which were during critical stretches, can to some degree make up for all the fumbling that has happened to Pierce at least once or twice every game in this series.

STAT TO TRACK: Lost in the bevy of impressive numbers put up by the Celtics in their Game 4 win was their defense against the Knicks' three-point shooters. Having allowed New York to shoot at least 36 percent on threes in each of the first three games, Boston limited the Knicks to just 23.3 percent (7-for-30) from beyond the arc in Game 4.