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They're not done yet. The Boston Celtics went into Madison Square Garden this evening trailing the New York Knicks 3-1 in this first round series. The Knicks had a lot to say before the contest, including Kenyon Martin telling all of his teammates to show up to the arena in black because tonight was "the Celtics' funeral." JR Smith chimed in as well, saying that had he been able to play in Game 4, Boston would've lost. A lot of talk but did it work out?

In short, the answer is no. The Celtics were able to avoid elimination for the second straight time and this time they did it on the Knicks home floor. Although they only won by six, 92-86, Boston put together their most complete game of the series. Through the first four contests, the Cs would come out looking pretty well in the first half. Unfortunately, when they returned to the court after the intermission, they were just god awful. Luckily, Doc Rivers' crew played a little over halfway decent in the second half despite a quick 4 turnovers to begin the third. 

Before I say more about the outcome, it should be noted that the game seemed all but over immediately after the tip. The Knicks got out to an 11-0 lead before Boston even made their first field goal. It was at that point where Brandon Bass, of all people, put the team on his back and scored 9 points to put his team right back in it. Bass would go on to finish the game with a series high 17 points to go along with the 5 rebounds and 3 assists he recorded as well. 

Though Bass got out to a torrid start, the same can't be said for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The Captain went 0-6 before he finally nailed a three to break his dry spell. KG's scoring woes weren't as significant due to the fact that he was a monster on the glass. Garnett corralled 9 misses in the first half alone, en route to 18 for the game. Ultimately, Pierce would go on to pour in 16 points and even if he did go 6-19 from the floor, each and every point was needed. 

Jeff Green was quietly productive, per usual. Number 8 dropped 18 points and all he needed was 8 field goal attempts to do so. His rebounding numbers left a lot to be desired but it's fair to say that Kevin Garnett was underneath every carom from start to finish. 

As far as the bench was concerned, Rivers took a unique approach to this game. Boston's head coach only played two of his reserves, Jason Terry and Terrence Williams. Jordan Crawford was all but forgotten and so was Courtney Lee. It's hard to question the strategy when it resulted in a win but you have to wonder if he'll continue to use just two guys off the bench. If it works for the team, it works for me. Jason Terry is in "playoff mode" and it almost makes you forget about how bad he was during the regular season, almost. JET scored 17 points tonight all while knocking down 50+% of his three point tries. 

Speaking of Terry, I think when JR Smith elbowed him in the chin in Game 3 his bad shooting was swapped with Smith's good shooting. Sounds like something out of Freaky Friday but seriously it makes some sense. 

JR Smith was absolutely terrible tonight yet he still managed to score 14 points, most of which came from the line. The Sixth Man of the Year started the night 0-10 and his first made field goal didn't come until there was under 3 minutes left in the fourth quarter. I can honestly say that I don't recall ever seeing Smith shoot the ball that poorly. Like I said, they might have swapped shooting touch or something... Weird. 

Anyways, back to reality, Carmelo Anthony was equally as bad as his inked friend. Melo scored 22 points but he took a whopping 24 shots to get there. How's this for a stat? In the last two games, Anthony has scored 52 points on 53 field goal attempts. That's the problem with him, he's extremely inefficient more often than not. I tweeted during the game that he can officially be labeled as a chucker. Yes, he has one of the better jumpers in the game when it's falling but he still takes way too many shots. For those of you who believe Melo is the best scorer in the league, you need to reevaluate the talent. Apparently you haven't heard of this guy out west named Kevin Durant. Or you could just call him the newest member of the 50/40/90 club. Or you could call him a three time NBA scoring champ. Any of those works for me.

Overall I was impressed with the way the Celtics performed tonight. The way these two squads played almost seemed like a role reversal (There's that whole Freaky Friday thing again). Boston hasn't been known for the three ball this season and obviously the Knicks live and die by the three. Well New York died tonight, hoisting up 22 shots from long range and connecting on just five for a laughable 23% clip. Boston on the other hand took the same number of treys but they made 11 of theirs. 50% from downtown is good for any team, let alone the Boston Celtics. Another thing I liked about tonight's match-up was the fact that the Cs attacked the pain and drew fouls. They put up 17 free throws tonight and made every single one of them. That's how you win ball games in the playoffs. You have to attack, attack, attack. A team as "old" as Boston can afford to slow the pace of the game down by scoring points while the clock is frozen. 

With their victory tonight, Boston has cut into the series lead and it's now 3-2 after 5. Game 6 will be in Boston this Friday night at 7:00pm EST. Hopefully the Celtics will be able to hang on once again to force a Game 7 that would take them back to New York. But for now, let's just continue to take it one game at a time. 
 


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