Notes: Celtics know Knicks won't go quietly


Notes: Celtics know Knicks won't go quietly

By A.Sherrod Blakely

WALTHAM The Boston Celtics aren't scoring a ton of style points with NBA pundits and basketball aficionados following victories in Games 1 and 2 over the New York Knicks.

Boston has won both games by a total of five points, which speaks to how this series could just as easily be 2-0 in favor of the Knicks.

Even though the Celtics have the better record, swept the regular-season series and have now won 18 of the last 20 meetings between the teams, Boston players say they're not surprised at how tough the Knicks have been to put away.

Looking back at the four regular-season games, Boston won them by a total of just 26 points, or 6.5 points per game.

"This team is not going to go away," Ray Allen said of the Knicks. "We're not just going to beat this team because they are a lower seed than we are."

Said Rajon Rondo: "Hopefully we can get a couple games, or one game, where we can have a comfortable lead."

Sounds good in theory.

But this is the playoffs where every game, regardless of what happened in the regular season, is a struggle.

That's why Allen hasn't given a second thought as to why the C's haven't been able to put the Knicks away sooner when the two teams face one another.

"We can win every game by one point, and I'm happy," Allen said.

When Rajon Rondo is in full-blown attack mode, it's a thing of beauty. We've seen it to some degree in both playoff games against the New York Knicks. As much as Celtics Nation would love to see that Rondo all the time, both he and his coach know that's just not going to happen.

"It's impossible for 82 games to do that," Rondo said. "Different teams have different schemes."

He's talking about the way teams defend - something that has never been a part of a Mike D'Antoni-coached squad.

"Obviously, their strength is not defense," Rondo said. "It's putting the ball in the hole."

Which for Rondo, looked quite easy in Game 2 when he had a playoff career-high 30 points primarily on lay-ups that came when he beat the Knicks down court.

Rondo said the key to his fast start - he had 12 points in the first quarter - was Boston's ability to hold its own on the boards and Knicks guard Toney Douglas picking up an early foul. Aware that New York was thin at the point-guard position (Anthony Carter was the backup because the team's usual starter, Chauncey Billups, was out with a left knee injury), Rondo was about as aggressive as we've seen him this season.

"We did a pretty good job rebounding and I was trying to take advantage," Rondo said.

One of the advantages Boston felt it had coming into this first-round series with the Knicks was its bench.

Well, things haven't quite worked out like they anticipated.

The Celtics' second unit has been outscored 46-22 by the Knicks' backups, which has put even more pressure on Boston's starters to carry the team.

Rivers isn't worried about his second unit's struggles.

"That's why it's a team game," Rivers said. "Sometimes your bench plays well and your starters don't. It's never going to be perfect. There will be a game in this series where a couple of our starters won't play well, and then somebody on the bench will step up. It's just the nature of the beast."

And while rotations in the playoffs do shrink - we're seeing that with the Celtics already - Rivers reiterated he will not make any significant changes to how he goes about using his reserves.

So far he has gone with a nine-man rotation although only three backups - Glen Davis, Jeff Green and Delonte West - see significant minutes off the bench.

Nenad Krstic is the ninth man, although he has played a total of just eight minutes in the first two games.

Krstic suffered a bone bruise to his right knee at San Antonio on March 31.

And last week, his left knee collided with a teammate in practice which has bothered him some as well.

"He's hurting," Rivers said. "But so is everyone. I don't pay attention to that. I never ask. If they're hurting enough, they'll tell me. That's been my motto."

Rivers also believes deeply in bench play being important always, but especially in the playoffs.

And while his second unit has had its problems, his faith in them remains strong as ever.

"I'm going to play our bench, whether they are playing well or not," Rivers said. "They will play well. They just haven't. They'll come through for us."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Warriors force Game 7 with 108-101 win over Thunder


Warriors force Game 7 with 108-101 win over Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Klay Thompson made a playoff-record 11 3-pointers and scored 41 points, and the defending champion Golden State Warriors forced a seventh game in the Western Conference finals with a 108-101 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night.

Stephen Curry bounced back from a slow start to finish with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

The Warriors, who set the league's regular-season record with 73 wins, will host Game 7 on Monday. The winner will play Cleveland in the NBA Finals.

Oklahoma City dominated Games 3 and 4 at home, but the Warriors made 21 of 44 3-pointers on Saturday, while Oklahoma City was 3 of 23.

Kevin Durant scored 29 points and Russell Westbrook added 28 for the Thunder. But Durant made just 10 of 31 shots and Westbrook was 10 of 27.

Trying to become the 10th team to overcome a 3-1 deficit, the Warriors trailed much of the game and trailed by eight going to the fourth quarter.

Thompson kept them in it with four 3-pointers in just over seven minutes to start the period. Curry then hit two 3s, the second of which tied the game at 99 with 2:47 to play.

Thompson's 3 with 1:35 to play put the Warriors up 104-101.

The Thunder, who blew a number of fourth-quarter leads during the regular season, fell apart in the final minutes after Golden State had finally gone ahead for good.

Westbrook lost control of the ball, and after Thompson missed a 3, Westbrook turned the ball over again. Curry's layup with 14.3 seconds to play put the Warriors up by five, the Thunder turned it over again, and the Warriors were in the clear.

The Thunder led 23-20 after one quarter, then seized momentum early in the second. Steven Adams' powerful one-handed dunk on Draymond Green drew a roar from the crowd and gave Oklahoma City a 37-28 lead. Green, who had hit Adams in the groin area twice during the series, was a constant target for the vocal Thunder fans.

Thompson opened the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Warriors a 54-53 edge, but the Thunder closed the quarter strong and led 83-75 heading into the fourth.

Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones shot and killed


Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones shot and killed

By Kurt Helin, NBC Pro Basketball Talk

This is a sad and stunning development.

Bryce Dejean-Jones, the rookie guard of the New Orleans Pelicans, has died, the Dallas, Texas, County Coroner has confirmed to NBC Sports. Travis Hines of the Ames Tribune broke the news.

Dejean-Jones was just 23.

The coroner’s office would not give a cause of death, but Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports had the tragic detail.