Tyson Chandler wasn't himself in Game 1 on Saturday, but he wasn't worried about it.
"I knew I would be rusty. I knew I would be a little winded. I knew at some point my legs would get the best of me," the starting center said after the game. "I just wanted to be out there with my team."
Chandler had missed 16 of the Knicks' final 20 regular-season games due to a neck ailment and was playing his first game in nearly two weeks on Saturday. Chandler played just six minutes in the second half as Mike Woodson opted to go with Kenyon Martin down the stretch.
Chandler finished with five rebounds and one steal. He did not attempt a shot. Afterward, he said his conditioning affected him, but his neck was pain-free.
"I think more so it's just my conditioning," he said. "I should obviously be much better in Game 2 [on Tuesday]."
RAY SAVES THE DAY: With Pablo Prigioni nursing a sprained right ankle on Saturday, that meant that Raymond Felton would have to take more of the load defensively against Avery Bradley. But he didn't disappoint, forcing the Celtics point guard into two turnovers and blocking one of his shots.
Offensively, Felton continued to play full throttle from the end of the regular season, attacking the paint aggressively off of pick-and-rolls and in transition. He also knocked down two jump shots off the dribble, which is going to be important for the team. Some scouts view Felton's midrange game as inconsistent, which encourages opponents to give him room to shoot to focus more on collapsing down on Chandler's rolls to the basket.
Overall, resting for only five minutes, Felton was a key facilitator on both ends of the floor.
"It was huge that he played 43 minutes," J.R. Smith said afterward. "We were talking about it after the game."
J.R. SPECIAL: J.R. Smith struggled from the floor on Saturday, hitting just 7 of 19 shots. But he had a thunderous dunk towards the end of the first quarter that left the Garden crowd on its feet. He also had a key layup with 5:44 to play in the fourth -- snapping a 1-for-6 stretch -- that put the Knicks up by four.
But Smith knows he settled too much from the outside, missing six 3-point attempts.
"In the second half, I took too many 3s," he said. "Even though they were open, I have to keep on attacking."
NO CONTEST: The Celtics contested 19 of Carmelo Anthony's 29 field goal attempts in the game. While he was 3-for-14 on contested looks through the first three quarters, he finished strong, making 4 of 5 contested looks in the fourth, including three over Jeff Green.
NOT COOL, MAN: Before the game, Anthony and Paul Pierce spoke to the Garden crowd to show support for Boston in light of the marathon bombings earlier in the week. But the fans weren't particularly kind to Pierce, and Melo wished they hadn't done that.
"I don't think that was the right thing to do, boo somebody like that," he said afterward. "At the end of the day, we all know what happened in Boston. Our prayers and things like that go out to the families in the city of Boston. In a situation like today, it's all about the U.S. It's our country, and it's sad that we've got to go through an unfortunate tragedy like this. Whoever booed shouldn't have booed, not in a situation like that."