Celtics (56-26) at Knicks (42-40)
Celtics lead series 3-0
Playoff Team leaders
Celtics: PPG Paul Pierce (25.3); RPG Kevin Garnett (11.7); APG Rajon Rondo (12.0)
Knicks: PPG Carmelo Anthony (24.0); RPG Carmelo Anthony (10.7); APG Carmelo Anthony (5.3)
The Celtics jumped out to a 9-0 lead and never looked back in Game 3, easily coming away with a 113-96 win on Friday night. Paul Pierce (38 points) and Ray Allen (32 points) had the hot hands shooting the ball, while Rajon Rondo racked up his first playoff triple-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 20 assists. The Knicks, playing without Chauncey Billups (left knee) and a limited Amar'e Stoudemire (back spasms), were led by Carmelo Anthony's 15 points on 4-for-16 shooting.
What to look for
Doc Rivers' ability to make adjustments at halftime has been huge in this series thus far. Boston has trailed in two of the three games, but has outscored the Knicks by an average of 10 points in the third quarter.
When a fan booed Paul Pierce hours before tip-off in Game 3, Pierce said, "it feels like home." He wasn't kidding. His 38 point eruption in Game 3 was just the latest pummeling by Pierce at Madison Square Garden. In the three games that Pierce has played at MSG this season, he has averaged 30.3 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 64 percent from the field (32-for-50) and 64 percent on 3s (9-for-14).
Down 3-0 in the series, the Knicks must decide to either raise the white flag and sit Amar'e Stoudemire (back spasms) down, or try to fight on knowing that he could potentially make his back injury worse. Boston's biggest enemy today may very well be themselves. This is the third time this core group has had a team on the verge of being swept. In the two previous instances, both last season, the C's lost before ultimately going on to win the series. Focus, as well as more contributions from the bench, will play a major role in deciding whether the C's Big Four will finally sweep a team out of the playoffs.