at New York Knicks (0-1) at Boston Celtics (1-0)
Round 1 Game 2
Tuesday, April 19
7:00 PM ET
Playoff Game #2, Home Game #2
TV: TNT, CSN-NE, MSG, TSN
Probable Starting Matchups Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Toney Douglas
This will once again be a key matchup. As we have seen all season, as Rondo goes, so go the Celtics. When Rondo is on his game and is aggressive, so are the Celtics as illustrated by the fact that the Celtics were 36-6 when Rondo dished out 10 assists or more but they were just 11-15 when Rondo failed to reach 10 assists. Chauncey Billups injured his ankle in game 1 and is listed as questionable for this game. The Knicks game notes have Chauncey listed as the starter although he is also listed as questionable. I'm just taking a guess that Toney Douglas will fill in if he can't go. There were reports of Rondo dealing with an injury to his knee after game 1 also.
Ray Allen vs Landry Fields
Fields held Rondo to just 1-3 shooting in the first half, but Fields didn't see many minutes in the second half and that allowed Ray to hit some big shots aling with the game winner. It was great to see Ray get back on track and hopefully he can pick up where he left off in the second half of game 1.
Paul Pierce vs Carmelo Anthony
This is one of the marquee matchups of these playoffs. Both players are clutch and come up big for their teams when the pressure is on. In game 1, Carmelo scored just 15 points to 18 for Pierce. Pierce made the assist for the game winner while Melo missed the shot that could have put the Knicks on top.
Kevin Garnett vs Amar'e Stoudemire
This is a great matchup. In the first game, Amare scored 28 points and had 11 rebounds while KG had 15 points and 13 rebounds. There seems to be a rivalry brewing between Stoudemire and Big Baby though as both have been talking trash at each other.
Jermaine O'Neal vs Ronny Turiaf
Shaq will once again be out for this game, but Jermaine more than held his own in game 1. He came up with some big shots and scored 12 points. He also had 4 rebounds and 4 blocks. Turiaf was very effective for the Knicks and was very physical on defense. Hopefully Jermaine will continue to produce and stay healthy. Celtics Reserves
Carlos Arroyo Injuries
Shaquille O'Neal (calf, Achilles, age) out Key off the Bench
Big Baby has been key for the Celtics all season and will be counted on down the stretch to play with the starters as he has done all year. The Celtics need his defense and they also need him to make his shots when he is open. Big Baby shot just 1-6 in game 1 and needs to either learn to pass the ball or take better shots. He also was out-rebounded by both Ray and Delonte and so he needs to do a better job on the boards.
When Delonte is healthy and can lead the second unit, he has been invaluable to the team. He has the ability to hit big shots as well as to drive to the basket and he also can run the team to give Rondo some rest. He is also important to give Ray some rest as he can play both guard spots. Knicks Reserves
Andy Rautins Injuries
Shelden Williams (ankle) day to day Key off the Bench
If Billups can't start, and Douglas moves into the starting lineup, Carter becomes important as the back up PG. Of course they may elect to start Carter and bring Douglas off the bench because of the spark and scoring that Douglas brings off the bench.
Walker brings energy off the bench and can hit outside shots as well as slash to the hoop. He had a very strong game 1 as he got quality minutes when Melo went to the bench with early foul trouble. Keys to the Game Bench Play
- The Celtics bench scored just 8 points and pulled down just 8 rebounds in game 1. On the other hand, the Knicks' bench scored 23 points to go with 11 rebounds. The Celtics must get more production from their bench. Big Baby, Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic, and Delonte all have to play better. Defense
- The saying that defense wins championships is very true. The Celtics have been one of the top defensive teams in the league this season while the Knicks have been one of the top offensive teams. The Celtics ability to get stops will be a big key in winning this series. It would be nice to see them come out from the start playing lock down defense and not allow the Knicks to get a big lead once again. Move the Ball
- When the Celtics move the ball and make the extra pass and find the open man, they are very tough to beat. In the first half, the ball movement wasn't the greatest for the Celtics and they dug a hole that it took them the rest of the game to dig out of. They need to play unselfish team ball right from the start in this game. Be Aggressive
- The Celtics must be the more aggressive team. They have to win the 50-50 balls. They must be more aggressive in diving for loose balls, going for rebounds, and driving to the basket. The more aggressive team usually gets the benefit of the calls and also usually wins the game. We know the Knicks are going to be aggressive and the Celtics must be more so. Rebound
- The Celtics must make an effort to crash the boards and win the rebounding battle. The Knicks have not been a good rebounding team and so the Celtics must take advantage of that. They can limit the Knicks second chance points as well as their fast breaks by beating them to the rebounds. In game 1 the Celtics out rebounded the Knicks 44-34 and a lot of that was because Ray and Rondo were crashing the boards. The Celtics bigs have got to rebound better in this game. X-Factors
Health and Officiating
Billups is questionable for this game. Krstic is playing with a bruised knee. And there was a report on Yahoo that Rondo was seen limping with a wrap on his knee after game 1. Injuries could play a major role in this game if Billups and/or Rondo are limited and if Krstic can't give the Celtics quality minutes. We have seen many instances where the officiating has made a difference in these playoffs already. The refs let them play in the first game. Hopefully we can get a fair shake from the refs in this one also.