Friday, April 26, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Knicks 90, Celtics 76
By Ian Begley
WHAT IT MEANS: The Knicks are one win from their first playoff series victory in 13 years.
New York dominated Boston in Game 3 of its first-round playoff series on Friday night, winning 90-76 to take a commanding 3-0 series lead.
No team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series.
The Knicks last won a playoff series in 2000. They suffered through a 10-year drought without a single playoff win. They snapped an eight-game road playoff losing streak with Friday's win.
New York was led by Carmelo Anthony (26 points) and Raymond Felton (15). The Knicks held Boston to 35 percent shooting in the first half and led by 16 at the break. They maintained that lead for much of the second half and cruised to a victory.
SECOND WIND: The Knicks went on an 11-4 run to take control in the second. They held Boston to two field goals over a six-minute span. The C's missed 11 of 17 shots overall in the quarter and trailed by 16 at half.
The Celtics cut the Knicks' lead to 11 early in the third, but Anthony made three straight shots over a four-minute stretch to give New York a 17-point lead with two minutes to go in the third. In all, Anthony had 14 of his 26 in the third to keep Boston at bay.
RAY'S DAY: Felton said on Friday morning that he's having one of his best seasons as a pro in New York this year.
That continued on Friday night, with Felton pouring in 15 points, nine assists and two turnovers. The Knicks outscored the Celtics by 13 when Felton was on the floor.
He wasn't the only guard to have success on Friday. Pablo Prigioni, playing on an ankle that is less than 100 percent healthy, provided a surge with three first-half 3-pointers.
The three 3s matched a season-high for Prigioni. Prigioni finished with nine points and a team-high five steals.
Jason Kidd also contributed meaningful minutes, with six rebounds, five assists and two blocks.
D-FENCE: The Celtics shot 52 percent in the first half of the first two games of this series, but they couldn't duplicate that type of performance in Game 3.
Boston shot just 35 percent in the first half. Paul Pierce went 1-for-6 and the Celtics missed 6 of 8 3s. Pierce finished with 17 points on 6-for-17 shooting. Kevin Garnett had 12 points and 17 rebounds in 34 minutes.
Credit for befuddling Boston in the first half goes to the Knicks' perimeter defense, which forced the Celts into nine turnovers before halftime. New York had 14 points off of turnovers in the first half.
FLAGRANT FOR J.R.: The Knicks might be without J.R. Smith for Game 4. Smith was ejected and whistled for a Flagrant "2" foul after elbowing Jason Terry in the fourth quarter. The league will review the flagrant and can opt to suspend Smith. If he's suspended, he will serve the suspension on Sunday.
Per playoff rules, if Smith gets one more flagrant, it will trigger an automatic suspension.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks have a day to practice and rest on Saturday before taking on the Celtics in Game 4 on Sunday afternoon.