Celtics - Knicks review: Total team effort for C's

Celtics - Knicks review: Total team effort for C's
May 1, 2013, 11:00 pm
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NEW YORK — Early on, it was Brandon Bass. In the second and third quarters, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry had it going. In the fourth quarter, it was Jeff Green.

Add it all up, and you have about as balanced a scoring attack as the Celtics have had all season, and the timing could not have been better as the C's staved off playoff elimination again with a 92-86 Game 5.

Boston now trails the best-of-seven series 3-2 with Game 6 in Boston on Friday.

Jeff Green led five double-figure scorers for Boston, with 18 points.

It was the kind of game that the C's have been looking for in this series, the kind of game that makes the Celtics an extremely difficult team to beat home or on the road.

"That's our formula to success," said Jason Terry who had 17 points off the Celtics bench. "We're not going to rely on one guy. We have to do it collectively as a unit, on both ends of the floor."

A big part of that balanced attack is trust, a theme talked about often after the win by both head coach Doc Rivers and his players.

"This was the first game we had complete trust," Rivers said. "We let the ball find the open guy and we were really good."

Said Kevin Garnett, who had 16 points and a game-high 18 rebounds: "We trusted each other. We moved the ball. Guys who had shots took them. They were aggressive. And then we came down and played some decent defense. They missed some shots, they made some shots. But, we stayed with it. We continued to attack and that's what we need to keep doing."

Here are some factors identified prior to Game 5 and how they played out as the C's season is alive for another day following Wednesday's 92-86 win.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Boston will try to once again make the New York 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).

WHAT WE SAW: Anthony had 12 of New York's 22 first-quarter points, but was a non-factor for long stretches afterward. In fact, Anthony only scored 10 points over the final three quarters to finish with 22 points on 8-for-24 shooting.

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 it. No player since Michael Jordan's 63-point performance in 1986, took that many shots against the Celtics in a playoff game. If Bass can make him work that hard to score, it affords the C's their best shot at a victory.

WHAT WE SAW: Bass made an impact with his defense on Anthony in Game 4. In Game 5, it was Bass holding his own with Anthony's scoring. Anthony had 12 points in the first quarter while Bass had nine. For the game, Bass finished with 17 points on 6-for-7 shooting along with five rebounds, three assists and yet again, a job well done defensively on Anthony.

PLAYER TO WATCH:  Paul Pierce has had at least five turnovers in each of the four games thus far, and is more than overdue for a high-scoring, highly-efficient night.

WHAT WE SAW: It was a horrible start for Pierce who missed all six of his shot attempts in the first quarter. But the Captain bounced back by making six of his next 13 shots and finished with 16 points. However, the turnover bug - he had five on Wednesday - remains an issue.

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' 3-point shooters. Having allowed New York to shoot at least 36 percent on 3s in each of the first three games, Boston limited the Knicks to just 23.3 percent (7-for-30) on 3s in Game 4.

WHAT WE SAW: Boston continued to limit the Knicks' 3-point shooters as New York shot an even lower percentage in Game 5 than they did in Game 4, connecting on just five of their 22 3s taken (22.7 percent).