at New York Knicks (2-0) at Boston Celtics (0-2)
Friday, April 26, 2013
7:00 PM ET
Playoff Game #3, Home Game #1
TV: ESPN, CSN-NE, MSG, NBAC
Probable Starting Matchups Point Guard
Avery Bradley vs Raymond Felton
Paul Pierce vs Pablo Prigioni
Jeff Green vs Iman Shumpert
Brandon Bass vs Carmelo Anthony
Kevin Garnett vs Tyson Chandler Celtics Reserves
Rajon Rondo (knee) out
Jared Sullinger (back) out
Kevin Garnett (hip) probable Key off the Bench
Doc has said that Crawford has moved in front of Courtney Lee for playing time. Crawford is somewhat of a loose cannon. He can be very good or very bad. The Celtics need the very good Crawford who can give them instant offense as well as handling the ball for the second unit.
JET has been very vocal off the court but hasn't given the Celtics much on the court. He didn't score in the first game at all. It looked like he was going to be a factor in game 2 but he disappeared in the second half when the Celtics desperately needed someone to knock down some shots. The Celtics need Jason Terry to get back on track. Knicks Reserves
Marcus Camby (foot) questionable
Amar'e Stoudemire (knee) outKey off the Bench
Sixth Man of the Year JR Smith has proved that he can take over a game if not guarded closely. He is a threat from beyond the arc as well as to drive to the hoop.
Martin has been rebounding, blocking shots and scoring for the Knicks. He has been a big factor in both games so far. The Celtics have to be aware of his presence at all times and need to try to keep him away from the basket.
The Celtics return to the TD Garden for their first game since the bombs at the Boston Marathon killed three people and wounded hundreds more. As with the Bruins and the Red Sox before them, the Celtics will pay tribute to the victims and the first-responders in a pregame ceremony - and then try to put it aside and play. The fans and the team can give each other a much needed lift.
The Celtics struggled on the road in the first two games, just as they have struggled on the road all season. At the Garden, however they have played very well and hopefully some home cooking will be just what they need to get back on track and to even up the series. The Celtics had a bigger home-court advantage during the regular season - winning 13 more games in Boston than on the road - than any other playoff team in the Eastern Conference.
Kevin Garnett injured his hip in game 2 but will play and according to Doc is fine. The Celtics need a healthy KG if they are going to win this series. The Celtics also need to get more from their bench. Jason Terry has been more mouth than game and they need him to snap out of his slump. They need others to contribute as well and if the players on the court aren't getting it done, Doc needs to try someone else.
The Celtics need to somehow solve their second half woes, whether it is fatigue or focus, they have to find a way to be consistent throughout the game and not disappear in the second half. The Celtics can win this game and this series, but they need to stay focused and hopefully the home crowd will be just what the Doctor ordered. Keys to the Game Bench Play
- The Celtics bench must give them more. Although they did better in the second game with 19 points (Crawford 10, Terry9) they still need to do better. If the players Doc puts in don't produce, Doc needs to go deeper into the bench as the starters can't carry the whole load. Defense
- The saying that defense wins championships is very true. 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 but more importantly to continue to play that defense after the half and until the final buzzer. Move the Ball
- One way to help their offensive struggles is to move the ball quicker and not allow the defenses to get set up. They can't let the ball get stuck with any one player as iso ball won't beat the Knicks. In moving the ball, they must make smart passes and not turn the ball over.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. They can limit the Knicks second chance points as well as their fast breaks by beating them to the rebounds. It is crucial for every player to go after rebounds and fight for them. Play Both Halves
- The Celtics have come out strong in both games on the road and had good first halves. For some reason, they have come out after the half like a completely different team, no longer aggressive, no longer hitting shots or going to the basket and just completely coming apart. They must somehow play strong for a full 48 minutes. X-Factors
KG's Health and Home Court
KG injured his hip in game 2 and Doc has said he will play in game 3 but if he is limited, so are the Celtics. There have already been questions about his ankle and now his hip. The Celtics need a healthy and aggressive KG in order to win this series.
The Celtics return home for the first time since the Marathon bombing and so it will be an emotional return to the Garden. The Celtics need to use that emotion and energy from the crowd and feed off of it to fuel their play. Hopefully being back home will get them back on track.