The Boston Celtics don’t exactly make sense. After finishing the regular season 10-11 in their final 21 games and limping into the playoffs against a dangerous Knicks team, the Celtics come out of the first round smelling like roses sweeping New York 4-0 behind a 101-89 victory. Kevin Garnett helped thwart a late Knick spurt by scoring 26 points and grabbing 10 rebounds with 20 of his points coming in the 2nd half. Rajon Rondo continued his play as the most consistent Celtic throughout the series by adding 21 points, 12 assists, and 5 rebounds.
The Knicks again came out listless and folded under the Celtic defense in the first half. Boston led 55-38 at half time and it appeared they were on their way to another easy win. The Celtics stretched the lead to 22 as New York started a desperation lineup of Toney Douglas, Bill Walker, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, and Shawne Williams in the 3rd quarter. Coach D’Antoni saw the error of that move and then went deeper into his bench inserting Anthony Carter and Roger Mason. Carter seemed to provide the Knicks with a spark and something they were sorely missing by the absence of Chauncey Billups, veteran leadership. Carter shot 5-7 on his way to 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. His play woke up the garden and fueled a furious New York comeback as the Knicks trailed 84-80 with just over 7 minutes left to play. Carmelo (32 points & 9 rebounds) and Amare (19 points & 12 rebounds) joined in the futile effort to save the Knicks from an embrassing series sweep on their on their home court. “I thought we dropped the guard a little bit,” Doc Rivers said. “Give them credit, I thought they played desperate and you could see it in their play and their defensive energy.”
Desperation will only get you so far against an experienced bunch. The Celtics never wavered, never panicked and order was restored after consecutive jumpers by Rondo and Garnett pushed the lead back up to 10 with just over 4 minutes to play. The Knicks acknowledged defeat once the lead again reached double digits and the sweep concluded with congratulatory handshakes and embraces from New York to Boston. The Celtics recorded their first sweep in the playoffs since 1992. Ironically the Celtic new “Big 3″ era has never defeated an opponent in less than 6 games in any playoff series. This was a great year for that trend to end and the Celtics will have at least a week of rest before heading to Miami (most likely) to begin what is sure to be a war in round 2.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com