Notes: Stoudemire injured after warm-up dunk

191544.jpg

Notes: Stoudemire injured after warm-up dunk

By A.Sherrod Blakely and JessicaCamerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Amar'e Stoudemire burst on to the Big Apple scene, and has been getting lots of love from the always-tough-to-please New York City crowd.

It's too soon to tell if that love affair will last after Stoudemire suffers a back injury while -- of all things -- doing a high degree-of-difficulty dunk during warm-ups.

Stoudemire spent the second half of Tuesday's 96-93 Celtics win in the locker room receiving treatments.

When asked about the injury, he said it happened during warmups.

"I touched the top of the glass with my left hand, and dunked it with my right," Stoudemire said. "I think that's when I felt it really get tight on me."

Stoudemire is not sure that his back will heal in time for him to play in Game 3 at Madison Square Garden.

Getting hurt is one thing; it is after all, a part of the game. But during warm-ups?

Stoudemire tried to play through the pain, but it was clearly too much to bear after he was on the floor for 18 relatively non-productive minutes in the first half.

"I could hardly move (during the game)," Stoudemire said. "I was trying to play through it. just couldn't get quite totally loose."

Jermaine O'Neal left the game in the second quarter with a sprained left wrist injury, but was able to return. Although he wasn't nearly as good statistically on Tuesday as he was in Boston's Game 1 win, O'Neal was once again a factor for the Celtics around the basket.

As well as he played, Celtics coach Doc Rivers elected to keep him on the bench for the entire fourth quarter and instead go primarily with Glen Davis.

"It was a tough call," Rivers said. "I don't know if I made the right call or not, honestly."

The Knicks went with a smaller lineup, which usually results in Davis being a better fit for the C's than O'Neal.

While it made sense to go with Davis, the decision to play him was by no means a unanimous one among the coaching staff.

"As a coach, you're going back and fourth," Rivers said. "The debate on the bench would've been terrific for you guys to hear, but we turned the micas off so you couldn't."

The Knicks may not be a good team defensively, but they are smart enough to know the importance of not letting Ray Allen get a lot of shots off. Allen had 18 points in Boston's 96-93 win on Tuesday, and he did it on 6-for-8 shooting.

It was the second straight game that the ball didn't find its way into the hands of Ray Allen until several minute had expired.

Allen is averaging 21 points in the first two games of this series, but he has been scoreless in the first quarter in each game.

"They do play defense," Rivers said of the Knicks. "And so they just the ball didn't find him."

With so many offensive weapons, there are bound to be games when certain players don't get as many touches as they're used to.

It appears it's Ray Allen's turn now.

"We trust our offense," Rivers said. "I'm not that disappointed with it. Obviously I'd love Ray to get shots, but they actually know Ray's on the floor, too."

Glen Davis knew he could do better after Game 1. He wasnt pleased with his offensive performance, having shot 1-for-8 (2 points) in just over 25 minutes.

Davis approached Game 2 with the mentality that he doesnt have to score in double digits to be effective. He scored four points, doubling his Game 1 total with just three shots.

Im just doing what Doc wants me to do, he told CSNNE.com. I passed up a lot of shots today for the betterment of the team. If thats what I have to do, thats fine.

With Chauncey Billups (left knee injury) out of the lineup, the Knicks turned to Toney Douglas for Game 2. It was only his second career postseason game and his first start in the playoffs. In spite of the difference in experience, the Celtics were not taking Douglas (or rookie Landry Fields) lightly.

Theyre young players in the league but theyre capable of doing the things that their team needs them to do and thats good enough, Ray Allen said before the game. You cant rely on the lack of experience, nor can you rely on the wealth of experience. At the end of the day, its just experience. youve got to put it out there.

But Douglas inexperience was apparent at times. He picked up three fouls in the first half alone and attempted 16 shots, only making five (14 points).

Allen says it can be apparent to a veteran which players have postseason experience and which ones do not.

You know who feels comfortable and whos kind of in their wheelhouse where it doesnt really affect them when they go out there and play, he said. Offensively theyre always in control. They always play the game that they played in the regular season. Its just a command, just kind of having your wits about them on the floor.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA. She can be reached at jessicacamerato@gmail.com.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Knicks

WATCH: Celtics vs. Knicks

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics host the Knicks at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game Preview: Thomas scoring at record pace in fourth quarter

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]

- Live Extra FAQ: All your questions answered

- Latest on the Celtics: All of the most recent news and notes

- Talk about the game via social media on CSN's Pulse, presented by Ford

Celtics-Knicks preview: Thomas scoring at record pace in fourth quarter

Celtics-Knicks preview: Thomas scoring at record pace in fourth quarter

WALTHAM, Mass. –  As the fourth quarter rolls around, you will occasionally catch Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas looking down at his wrist, a gesture to remind anyone watching what time it is – Thomas time.

There are those who elevate their play in the fourth quarter of games, and then there’s Thomas who continues to smoothly navigate his way in unchartered fourth quarter scoring territory.

The Celtics begin the second half of the season Wednesday night against the New York Knicks, and there sits Thomas atop all players in the NBA when it comes to fourth-quarter scoring.

But that’s not all.

He’s not only dropping more points than any other NBA player in the most important quarter of them all, but he’s doing so at an unprecedented level of 10.1 fourth-quarter points per game.

Since NBA.com/stats began tracking fourth quarter scoring with the 1997-1998 season, no player has averaged more than 9.5 fourth-quarter points (LeBron James, 2006) in a season.

What makes Thomas’ fourth quarter heroics so impressive is that everyone in the building – fans, coaches, opponents – knows that’s when he’s looking to be most impactful for the Celtics and yet he still can’t be stopped.

Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford acknowledged how tough it is to limit Thomas despite knowing he’s looking to take over games in the fourth.

“It’s hard because the blitz game is impossible because they don’t roll,” said Clifford whose Hornets were beaten 108-98 by Boston on Monday. “If you watch the teams that try to blitz them, you’re going to give up basically lay-ups. We had things in to get the ball out of his hands but the way they played and the stuff that they usually go to late, they didn’t get to. He (Thomas) made some terrific plays; he’s a terrific offensive player.”

Despite what he does in the fourth and his overall scoring average of 28.2 points which is ranked among the league’s leaders, there are still lots of doubters as to how good Thomas.

Regardless of how you view his play, he has consistently played at a level this season that places him among the game’s best players.

And at the rate he’s scoring in the fourth quarter, he’s establishing himself as one of the great closers in the game.

Consider the list of players in the past decade who led the league in points scored in the fourth quarter.

  • 2016: James Harden (7.7)
  • 2015: Russell Westbrook (7.1)
  • 2014: Kevin Durant (7.9)
  • 2013: Kevin Durant (8.4)
  • 2012: Kevin Durant (7.3)
  • 2011: Amare Stoudemire (7.1)
  • 2010: LeBron James (8.0)
  • 2009: LeBron James (7.7)
  • 2008: LeBron James (9.1)
  • 2007: Dwyane Wade (8.2)

You have All-stars, All-NBA First Teamers, league MVPs as well as a few future Hall of Famers.

As good as those players were in their respective seasons, when the game mattered most – the fourth quarter – Thomas numbers (for now at least) stand head and shoulders above them all.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens gives Thomas a lot of credit for being such a consistent scorer, particularly in the fourth quarter.

But as good as Thomas is, he’s not out there getting all these baskets on his own, either.

“It says a lot about the fact that he’s got a lot of skilled guys around him that are hard to leave,” Stevens said. “When you’re playing Kelly (Olynyk) and Jonas (Jerebko) together with him, there’s a lot of space on the floor to operate. When those guys are at the four (power forward) and five (center), when you’re playing guys like Al Horford who can space the floor or Avery (Bradley) or Jae (Crowder), you know, those types of guys … at the end of the day I think that it’s a combination of a lot of things.”

And for opponents, a lot of problems.

“He’s been playing well,” Hornets guard Kemba Walker said of Thomas. “He’s been playing better than anyone in our league. He’s playing with great confidence and making the plays for his team to win games. He’s been great.”