Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Pregame: C's unfazed by no Billups
By Chris Forsberg
BOSTON -- Despite the fact that Knicks guard Chauncey Billups is inactive for Game 2 because of a strained left knee, the Celtics continue to stress that they don't feel any sort of advantage because New York will be without a key member of its starting five.
The Knicks will start Toney Douglas in Billups' place, one game after Douglas nearly lifted his team to victory with a late-game 3-pointer.
"I don’t know if we’re going to take advantage of [the Knicks not having Billups] honestly," coach Doc Rivers said. "If Chauncey plays, we’re going to play our game; if Chauncey doesn’t play, we’re going to play our game. We’re not going to change our game plan any obviously. With Douglas, it gives them more speed in some ways. They’ve been pretty good with Douglas as a starter. We told our guys, 'He's only leading league in 3[-pointers] since the All-Star break.' He's made more 3’s than any player in the NBA since the All-Star Game. He's been pretty good."
The Celtics did up their ball pressure on Douglas late in Game 1, taking advantage of Douglas' lack of playoff experience to help deny passes to Amare Stoudemire, who had dominated the early portion of the fourth quarter. Stoudemire did not touch the ball on New York's final seven possessions due to that pressure, but Rivers admitted that his troops would be hard-pressed to sustain that intensity.
"That’s tough to do for 48 minutes," Rivers said. "Most of the time, when you’re denying a guy, it puts you in bad defensive position. But the way [Stoudemire] was going, we felt like we would take our chances on someone else. It was the 'Anyone But Amare' defense at the end. They’ll counteract that [in Game 2]."
A couple other quick pregame notes:
* Guards Carlos Arroyo and Avery Bradley are the healthy scratches for Boston; center Shaquille O'Neal (right calf/Achilles) is the other inactive. That's an encouraging sign for anyone worried about point guard Rajon Rondo, who displayed a bit of a limp leaving the locker room after Game 1.
* Celtics guard Ray Allen said Boston can't take its foot off the accelerator after winning the first game.
"We've been in long playoff series, where you take the previous game into play and you think the same things are supposed to happen," said Allen. "You're going to score different ways, there's going to be different plays, we're going to find different options, the ball's going to bounce differently, so I don't want to predetermine anything. That's the great thing about it, it's like you don't know what's going to happen."