Celtics - Knicks review: KG does his part

Celtics - Knicks review: KG does his part
April 27, 2013, 1:00 am
Share This Post

BOSTON — To a man, every single player in the Boston Celtics locker room will tell you that they had every intention of winning their Game 3 matchup against the New York Knicks.

But talking about winning and doing what is required, aren't necessarily one in the same.

And that can make for some lonely times on the floor for Kevin Garnett, whose elevated play was not able to inspire his teammates to step their game up.

Garnett played more than 34 minutes, tallying a double-double of 12 points and 17 rebounds.

"I just thought he played so hard," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "I mean, he missed some shots obviously, that he'd like to have back, but he really wanted to win tonight. I thought there were a couple guys that stood out in that way. And he obviously was - he was fantastic."

But big games from Garnett have not necessarily resulted in big wins for the Celtics this season.

It certain has played out that way in the playoffs as Garnett tallied his second straight double-double with both games ending in defeat for the Celtics.

There were a handful of stretches in which Garnett appeared angry and upset, if not by the score by certainly by the inability of his teammates to contribute more to the team's cause.

"I got the sense that he was getting frustrated, because he wanted them to be him," Rivers said. "In the same spirit. But he just kept chugging along. He didn't change. He didn't change his demeanor. He's as competitive of a human being as I've ever been around."

"We're going to need that again from Kevin in Game 4," said Celtics Captain Paul Pierce. "So the effort that he put in, he's an emotional leader, we're going to need that effort again from him, but we're going to need a better effort from everybody else also."

Garnett's good, but-not-good-enough performance was among the factors that kept Boston's double-digit loss from getting even more lopsided. Here's a look at some other factors identified prior to the game, and how they actually played out.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Emotions will be running high from the start for the Boston Celtics, so part of the challenge for the C's will be to channel that energy and spread it out over the course of the game and play well in the second half which for the Celtics, would be a first in this series.

WHAT WE SAW: The Celtics were fired up from the start ... maybe a bit too fired up. "There was a lot of energy in the building," said Paul Pierce. "I thought we wanted it so bad, we were so anxious." That nervous energy led to a number of early misses from point-blank range, as well as a slew of turnovers that ultimately sealed Boston's loss.

MATCHUP TO WATCH:  Kevin Garnett vs Tyson Chandler: For Garnett to not dominate this matchup with Chandler clearly not himself health-wise, has been a huge disappointment. Garnett is dealing with a hip injury that certainly impacted his play in Game 2 (that and early foul trouble), but at this point that doesn't matter. He has to find a way to out-play Chandler and the Knicks tonight.

WHAT WE SAW: Kevin Garnett had a Tyson Chandler-like 17 rebounds for Boston, in addition to 12 points. But Garnett's play, as strong as it was, did not quite deliver the kind of over-the-top performance that the C's needed in order to win. Meanwhile, Chandler had six points to go with eight rebounds in just under 30 minutes.

PLAYER TO WATCH:  All eyes will once again be on Carmelo Anthony who has gotten off to fast starts in both Games 1 and 2. He led the league in first quarter scoring with nine points per game, and is up to 10.5 points scored in the first quarter of this playoff series. He's going to get his points, regardless. But not allowing them to come so early would go far in Boston's quest to get a game in this series.

WHAT WE SAW: Anthony continues to shake off all thoughts of him not being able to lead a team deep into the postseason, as he delivered yet another strong game for the Knicks. He led all scorers with 26 points on 12-for-25 shooting from the field.

STAT TO TRACK:  Paul Pierce needs to be more efficient tonight, and it's not just shooting the ball, either. He has turned the ball over 11 times in the two playoff games against New York, which speaks to how he's being asked to do more than he probably should right now. But injuries and inconsistent play has left the C's with little choice but to lean a little heavier on the captain. Pierce having a night with less than five turnovers could go far in Boston's chances at getting a win tonight.

WHAT WE SAW: Pierce continues to be a turnover machine for the Celtics, racking up five turnovers on Friday which means he has had at least five turnovers in each of the Celtics' three games thus far.