TrueHoop: Carmleo Anthony
Once again, the Celtics shot themselves out of the game in the second half.
Game 2 between the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics was once again a tale of two halves.
The Celtics led by six at halftime, shot 56 percent from the field and held the Knicks to 38 percent shooting. Carmelo Anthony was also held in check (3-for-11 in the first half).
But the Knicks struck back, as has been the theme of the series. Let’s take a closer look.
Celtics Abysmal Shooting
The second half was a completely different story from the first.
For the second consecutive game the Celtics appeared to run out of gas. Tuesday night they were 7-for-36 (19.4 percent) from the floor in the second half. That’s their worst shooting performance in any postseason half over the last 15 seasons.
Boston scored 24 points in the paint, including the regular season that’s tied for their lowest output in a game this season. During this series the Celtics are averaging 27 points in the paint after putting up 38.1 during the regular season.
Anthony has now scored 30 or more points in four consecutive postseason games. His production in both halves has been nearly identical. However, Anthony has passed 17 more times in the second halves of the games, helping the Knicks to a 33-point second-half advantage in the series.
The Knicks scored 26 points on pick-and-roll plays in the second half in Game 2 after scoring 13 points on those plays in the first half. The Knicks averaged 1.18 points per play on the pick-and-roll in the game and averaged 0.68 points per play on isolations.
Importance of being up 2-0
When the home team wins the first two games they have gone on to advance 94.4 percent of the time.
Only 15 teams in NBA history have come back to win a series after being down 2-0 (Oklahoma City came back from a 2-0 deficit last postseason).
Game 3 on Friday will be even more important, no team has ever come back to win a series from a 0-3 deficit.
Knicks guard Jeremy Lin had his second-worst game as a Knick from a plus-minus perspective. When he was on the floor, despite his 13 points and seven assists, the Knicks were outscored by 11 points. This was a big difference from the 28-point, 14-assist game he had against the Mavericks two weeks ago.
The Knicks made a good chunk of their comeback at the start of the fourth quarter (before the Mavericks' strong finish) with Baron Davis on the floor instead of Lin.
It was also a rough game for Carmelo Anthony, who was 2-for-12 from the field. Video review showed that Anthony was 0-for-5 on jump shots and 0-for-4 on shots around the basket.
Anthony is hitting the former at just a 31 percent clip this season and the latter at 51 percent. In Anthony’s tenure as a Knick last season, he hit those shots at rates of 39 percent and 58 percent, respectively.
The Mavericks had 30 free throw attempts to the Knicks' 23. The Mavericks entered the game sixth-worst in the NBA in free throw attempts per game (21) and had allowed 111 more free throw attempts than they’d taken (the differential ranked fifth-worst in the NBA)
The Mavericks shot 23 fewer free throws than the Thunder in a Monday loss, prompting Jason Kidd to criticize the officiating after the contest.
Of the last nine reigning NBA champs before the Mavericks, none finished a regular season ranked in the bottom 10 in the league in free throw attempt differential.
Bosh return key for Heat
The Heat also grabbed 36 defensive rebounds, two short of their season-high against Charlotte on Dec. 28.
Feats of the Night
Josh Smith scored 27 points in a win over the Indiana Pacers.
That's nothing new. The Hawks are 12-0 this season in games when Smith scores at least 20 points.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is the best record this season by a player who scored 20 points in at least 10 games this season..
Also, Celtics forward Kevin Garnett had 13 rebounds on Tuesday, which gave him 13,100 for his career. With the 13th rebound he passed Shaquille O'Neal for 12th place on the all-time career rebounds list.
Plus-Minus Note of the Night
Charlotte Bobcats backup center Byron Mullens had eight points and 13 rebounds in Charlotte’s 100-84 win over the Orlando Magic. In the 25 minutes that Mullens was on the court, the Bobcats outscored the Magic by 23 points.
This was the 61st career game for Mullens, but the first in which his plus-minus was in double figures on the positive side.
Dwight Howard wants the ball against the Celtics' interior D, you say? Let's see what he can do. Carmelo Anthony always wants the ball, and he's making music this postseason. And Tim Duncan is still thriving in a younger, faster NBA.
Brendan Jackson of Celtics Hub: "Dwight Howard says he wants to ball with the game on the line and I say give it to him. Without trying to wake a sleeping giant, I don't think Howard can be counted on when the game isn't on the line, let alone in the waning minutes trying to keep a lead or stage a comeback. Kendrick Perkins has played stellar defense on Howard this series en route to making his defensive prowess nationally known. Celtics fans knew Perk was a big body that could chest people up and block shots, but now the country is well aware of his ability should he stay out of foul trouble. Howard also lacks actual post moves, does not shoot well from the line, does not pass out of double-teams well, and the bank shot experiment has not gone the way of Tim Duncan. Despite all these short-comings, Howard is correct in saying he is a dominant player. Just dominant defensively and athletically. If the Celtics make him prove that he can beat us with Perk staying out of foul trouble, than this maybe the moment he ascends into offensive dominance and adds that to his resume. Personally, I just don't see that happening."
Rob Mahoney of Two Man Game: "The Mavs' season ended not with a bang nor a whimper, but with the sigh of a team that just didn't have enough. The Nuggets were the better basketball team, and they played like it. That's why, for the first time in a long while, I rested easy after the Mavs bowed out of the postseason. There was no implosion and there was no letdown. Although we Mavs fans were holding onto the hope of another Western Conference Finals, they should be able to find solace in the way these Mavs fought and the way that Dirk [Nowitzki] thrived. All the credit in the world has to go to the Denver Nuggets. The Mavs were a good basketball team playing their best basketball at the right time, but the Nuggets are a superior basketball team playing even better basketball with more two-way consistency. Personally, I'm ecstatic every time I get to watch the player that Carmelo Anthony is morphing into. Something about his game was both equally troubling and appealing, and to see him do away with the silly turnovers and the forced shots is to see him morph into an incredible basketball player. He showed every bit of that transformation in this series."
Timothy Varner of 48 Minutes of Hell: "Tim Duncan's second straight appearance on the 2nd team is, I think, more a matter of the league getting better and not necessarily a comment on decline. It's hard to argue against Nowitzki, [LeBron] James, and Howard. Duncan will continue to have tough competition, something that makes his appearances on these lists all the more remarkable. Tim Duncan has crossed the border into the land of sports cliche–he has nothing left to prove. Still, as a fan, I'd like to see him come back next season and do something fresh. Another championship is always in view. And he's never won Defensive Player of the Year, which doesn't seem right to me. Maybe there is still time left for him to make that right."
THE FINAL WORD
Rockets Buzz: Less dribbling, please. We prefer those nifty reversals.
Philadunkia: Meet the candidates. Leading off, Eddie Jordan.
Hardwood Paroxysm: Fun with numbers and Jon Nichols.
(Photos by Fernando Medina, Doug Pensinger, Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)