Celtics-Knicks superlatives: Game 2

Celtics-Knicks superlatives: Game 2
April 24, 2013, 12:45 am
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Here are some of the standout performances - and standing out doesn't always equate to good play, mind you -  in Boston's 87-71 loss to New York in Game 2 of their best-of-seven playoff series:


* Carmelo Anthony, Knicks: Once again the league's scoring champ put up big numbers, and he did so in a much more efficient manner on Tuesday by scoring 34 points on 11-for-24 shooting.

Iman Shumpert, Knicks: He only had six points, but the two 3s that he hit in the third quarter were huge. They not only tied the game up, but set into motion a furious rally that saw New York go from six-down to a commanding 15-point lead going into the fourth quarter.

* Raymond Felton, Knicks: Maybe the biggest X-factor thus far in this series, Felton had another solid game with 16 points to go with seven rebounds. The scoring coupled with some surprisingly solid defense on Paul Pierce is among the reasons why New York has a commanding 2-0 series lead.


Jeff Green, Celtics: Nobody embodies the second half struggles of the Celtics more than Green, who was 0-for-5 in the second half in Game 2 which came on the heels of a 1-for-5 shooting performance in Boston's Game 1 loss. Not only did he struggle with his shot (he missed eight of his 11 attempts) in Game 2, but he also reverted back to being a non-factor on the boards as he grabbed just one while playing nearly 35 minutes.

Kevin Garnett, Celtics: Early foul trouble threw a major monkey wrench into the Celtics' plans to utilize Garnett and his versatility as a scorer and a playmaker. He shot a respectable 4-for-9 from the field and had a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds. But for Boston to win, Garnett has to be one of the top three or four players on the floor in terms of his impact that on many nights, go beyond the numbers. It didn't happen in Game 1 and it certainly wasn't apparent in Game 2, either.

Avery Bradley, Celtics: Bradley's six points on 2-for-5 shooting wasn't too shabby, but at no point did his defense seem to turn the game's momentum in Boston's favor the way we saw during the regular season. Like Garnett, Bradley didn't have a particularly bad Game 2. He just didn't deliver the kind of performance that the C's needed from him in order to win.


Kenyon Martin, Knicks:  Once again, Martin delivered a strong performance off the bench for New York that was much-needed as Tyson Chandler continues to be limited. Martin had just three points but grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds and had four blocked shots which equalled the number of blocks by the entire Celtics team. "He has been great," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said of Martin. "Every time they bring a guy in, he gets older and older and better and better. He is smart and playing great."


With the score tied at 50, Paul Pierce turned the ball over following a Pablo Prigioni steal. Moments later, Raymond Felton drove into the lane for a go-ahead lay-up with 8:49 to play in the third quarter. New York would lead for the rest of the game.


Down 2-0 as the series shifts to Boston, all the pressure to keep this a series is on the C's shoulders. While there will certainly be some who will see the events of the past week in Boston as a means to help the C's rally, that really should not be required at this point.

The fact that their playoff life is on the line -- no team has rallied from a 3-0 deficit -- should be more than enough incentive for the C's to play one of their best, most complete games of the series.

Figuring out what has to happen for the C's to win going forward is clear. A better start to the third quarter, a more steady game from Green and keeping all the Knicks not named Carmelo Anthony or J.R. Smith in check, will help significantly.

But the way this series has played out, even if the C's achieve all of that it still may not be enough to win a game let alone the series.