Celtics-Knicks review: Boost from KG on boards

Celtics-Knicks review: Boost from KG on boards
April 28, 2013, 6:15 pm
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BOSTON -- Like most Celtics fans, Kevin Garnett has heard all the talk from the C's players about the playoffs and their opponent and their play needing to be better and will be better.

But it wasn't until the 97-90 overtime win over the New York Knicks on Sunday that all that white noise was finally heard in their play.

"If we want to survive and continue to play, this is what it is," said Garnett, who had 13 points and 17 rebounds. "This is the position we put ourselves in. To continue to play, we have to continue to win. So it's all-out from here.

When asked about the difference on Sunday compared to the first three games, Garnett replied, "versus talking, we actually came out and did it. This is it, you're down 3-0. What else is there to say?"

The most loquacious Celtics player, Jason Terry, finally had a game on par with his confidence level.

Terry had 18 points off the bench, including the C's final nine points in overtime.

"Jet played well for us today," Garnett said. "We're going to need big games from him."

The C's have certainly been getting that from Garnett lately, with Game 4 being the third time in four games that Garnett reached double figures rebounding.

Although he had 13 points, he did it on an extremely efficient 5-for-7 shooting night.

"Well yeah, you know that's what Kevin has been bringing us when he's out there, when he's not in foul trouble," said Paul Pierce, who had a team-high 29 points. "I thought we did a better job of making the effort of going to him. You know sometimes we forget about him in the offense, we become too perimeter oriented and taking lot of jump shots.

Pierce added, "but Kevin, he's our bread and butter down at the post so we gotta give it to him and play inside. Most of the time, when we get the ball to Kevin, good things are going to happen."

Garnett's play was certainly a factor. Here are some other factors to outlined prior to Game 4, and how they actually played out.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:  The NBA suspended New York's J.R. Smith for Game 4 after he elbowed Jason Terry in the chin in New York's Game 3 win. Without Smith, this will be without question Boston's best shot at winning a game in this series. It'll be worth keeping an eye on how both teams respond to Smith's absence.

WHAT WE SAW: Not having J.R. Smith had an adverse effect on the Knicks offense, resulting in a lower-than-usual shooting night and a lot more turnovers than usual. Although Raymond Felton (27 points) certainly did his part to fill the scoring void left by Smith's absence, it couldn't make up for the benefit that Smith's presence has in terms of spacing the floor for other shooters to get good looks at the basket.

MATCHUP TO WATCH:  Paul Pierce vs player TBD. Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert? Jason Kidd? It hasn't really mattered. Pierce has had trouble in this series against whoever New York put in his way. Pierce hasn't had this steady a diet of dealing with smaller defenders all season. And to their credit, they have forced Pierce into making lots of mistakes, the most notable being turnovers, with Pierce racking up at least five in each of the three games thus far.

WHAT WE SAW: Pierce was once again in the five-plus turnover club in Game 4. You love the team-high 29 points he scored on 9-for-20 shooting, but his continued struggles at handling the ball remain an issue for the C's moving forward.

PLAYER TO WATCH:  Kevin Garnett will be the center of attention, but for more than his ability. This may very well be his last game as a Celtic. He knows this. You can bet on Garnett leaving all that he has left on the floor. If only the same could be said about his teammates, we might have a completely different-looking series right now.

WHAT WE SAW: It was yet another complete game for Garnett who had 13 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. Boston ran a lot of its offense to start the game with Garnett as the initiator, helping fuel a strong first-half surge for the Celtics.

STAT TO TRACK: The Knicks have gotten better in so many areas throughout this series. Nowhere is this more evident than their field-goal percentage.  In 12 quarters of play, New York has shot 50 percent or better six times. That includes them connecting on 50 percent or more of their shots in four of the last five quarters of play, and each of the last three quarters of Game 3. Boston has to find a way to cool their hot shooters off if they are to have any shot at a victory.

WHAT WE SAW: Boston did have its one really bad quarter (the third when they gave up 30 points while scoring just 14), but the defense did as good a job as we've seen in this series. New York shot a series-worst 34.4 percent from the field and failed to have a single quarter of play in which they shot 50 percent or better from the field.