Sunday, April 21, 2013

Knicks-Celtics: Notes From Game 1

 Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant-NBAE via Getty Images

Certainly an interesting game to start the playoffs. The New York Knicks tripped up the Boston Celtics 85-78 in the first matchup of the series. The Knicks now lead 1-0, with game two on Tuesday. Here is the boxscore. I want to throw out some notes from this game, even though I didn't see a ton of the first half:

The Knicks Miss Pablo Prigioni 

Sure, Pablo Prigioni isn't a household name, and before the final month of the season, he wasn't playing a ton. However, the dual point guard combo the Knicks use is vital on Prigioni. Not only does he provide a ton of heady plays when he's in the game (contesting on inbound passes, throwing the ball off opponents, etc), but the ball movement simply wasn't the same without him. With Prigioni injuring his ankle in the final game of the regular season, Prigioni wasn't available for game one, but if he's able to come back in game two, the Knicks' offense would go back to normal. Speaking of ball movement....

What Is Going On With Carmelo Anthony?

It was an odd seeing from Anthony. After 82 games where Anthony looked like he understood that the ball needed to be moved. Instead, Anthony made his first four shots, and went stagnant in isolation attempts, finishing the first half shooting missing his last nine shots. It seemed like Anthony went back to his 2011 form, shooting off-balanced jumpers, stopping any ball movement, and playing lackluster defense. If that's the Anthony were getting from this series, then Boston has a chance.



 Boston's Lack Of Bench Play

The Celtics had four points off the bench. Jordan Crawford played 11 minutes, Courtney Lee provided 20 minutes, and Jason Terry had 20 of his own. Those three combined for seven shot attempts. Based on that, the Celtics lack anyone who can bang inside off the bench, nor do they have a real wing player who can play small forward. Crawford's zero shot attempts won't happen again, so the bench production should increase, but perhaps Chris Wilcox and Terrance Williams should have a bit more say off the Celtics bench.

Jeff Green's Sustainability

Jeff Green: 26 points, 7 rebounds, 8-15 shooting, 2 steals, 3 blocks, -7

Pretty strong performance, until you count that Green had 20 of those points in the first half. I don't believe Green is as bad as people think (some people really dislike his game), but I truly don't know what to think of him. Looking back, I think the Celtics will regret wasting this game from Green, mainly because he isn't consistent. The Celtics will find Green to have a positive impact in this series, due to the fact he's relatively the same size as Carmelo Anthony, and could provide some matchup issues, but in order to win the series, they will need more performances from Green like the one in game one.

(I'm back to add a couple small notes from the footage I saw in the first half)

-  Avery Bradley is pretty good. Correction, he's damn good. Bradley had some excellent cuts on offense, and he was a hawk on defense. I don't enjoy his constant "Why Me?" every time he gets called for a foul, but he's the perfect player for the Celtics to push this series. It will also be interesting to see who he guards if the Knicks go to the two point guard lineup (My guess? Prigioni).

- Tyson Chandler was so bad, ESPN gave him a DNP for the game. He was out there, and he wasn't effective. Luckily, the Knicks had Kenyon Martin to do dirty interior things (rebounding, put-backs, and boxing out). If Chandler cannot reach a level where he can provide interior defense for the Knicks, it might be best to limit his minutes, and give Martin more playing time. Also..Earl Barron? Nah.

- Just a lineup thought for Boston: Bradley, Lee, Pierce, Green, Garnett. Gives the Celtics shooting, experience in Pierce and Garnett, the ability to defend those shooters, and allows the Celtics to have one redeemable bench player, Brandon Bass, on the bench. Start out fast, bring Bass in for a change of pace. Just a thought.

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