Celtics-Knicks superlatives: Game 3

Celtics-Knicks superlatives: Game 3
April 27, 2013, 12:15 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 90-76 loss to New York in Game 3 of their best-of-seven playoff series:

STUDS

* Carmelo Anthony, Knicks: LeBron James may be the league's MVP this season, but Anthony has taken his game to another level in this series. After a rocky 2-for-7 shooting start, he heated up quickly to finish with a game-high 26 points on 12-for-25 shooting.

* Jeff Green, Celtics: There would be no second-half slump for Jeff Green on this night. But Green's inability to make much of an impact in the first half was part of the reason why the C's spent most of the night playing from behind. That said, he still managed to score a team-high 26 points to go with nine rebounds and four assists.

* Raymond Felton, Knicks: He said before Game 3 that he could get into the lane anytime he wanted to. To his credit, he backed up his bold talk with an even bolder game, tallying a double-double of 15 points on 7-for-14 shooting to go with 10 assists with just three turnovers.

DUDS

* Paul PIerce: The Captain seemed a step or two or three or ... slow all game, at both ends of the floor. And making matters worst, he continues to rack up a ridiculously high number of turnovers. He had 17 points but turned the ball over five times. In each of the C's playoff games, Pierce has had at least five turnovers.

* Avery Bradley: The lineup change Doc Rivers went with was supposed to alleviate some of the pressure that Bradley was experiencing as the team's point guard and resident defensive pest. But Bradley instead had his least impactful game of the series as he struggled to defend New York's guards while scoring just two points on 1-for-4 shooting without registering a single assist.

* Jason Terry: He has been a lot quieter lately, on and off the court. And while Friday's 14-point effort was indeed his best game statistically, he once again failed to deliver the kind of high-impact game that the Celtics desperately need from him.

SUPER SUB

* J.R. Smith, Knicks: Being the best backup out there is what you expect from Smith, this year's Sixth Man of the Year. He had 15 points on 6-for-12 shooting, numbers that would been even better if he wasn't ejected for swinging an elbow that connected with Jason Terry and was called a Flagrant-2 foul which drew him an automatic ejection with 7:06 to play.

KEY PLAY: Trailing 49-38 in the third quarter, Boston had the ball in transition after a Carmelo Anthony turnover. Before Jason Terry could give it up, he was stripped by Pablo Prigioni. That would be the best shot Boston would have for the rest of the game at making it a single digit contest.

Looking ahead: Down 3-0, the Celtics are done. How they fare on Sunday in Game 4 is irrelevant because at this point, it's not about if the Knicks will win this series but when.

There will be plenty of reasons to explain how the C's got to this point.

But one thing stands out.

The New York Knicks are simply the better team, and they are getting better as this series goes on while the C's seem to be getting progressively worse.

Boston has been a streaky team all year, so it would only be fitting that their season end with a streak ... although this one is clearly not what they had in mind.