Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Game 2 Preview
The Boston Celtics find themselves in a frustrating 0-1 hole heading into Tuesday's game 2. It was a frustrating loss after the Celts put their best foot forward in the first half, only to let a win slip away. If Boston is to even the score tonight on the road, there are some things they are going to need to do.
Stopping Carmelo Anthony is not a realistic option. Many defenders, ranging in size from Avery Bradley to Brandon Bass, will see time on Melo, but one way to take him out of the game may be on the other side of the ball. Anthony has never been known as a great defender, and will have to spend a lot of time covering Jeff Green or Paul Pierce. Both players are great at getting to the rim and drawing contact. If Melo is on Bass, set the screens and get the switches that are needed. Getting Melo in early foul trouble could put the Knicks offense in shambles for the stretches Anthony is on the bench.
Find Jason Terry some room to shoot, eventually he will come through. There is no way Terry is actually as horrific as he is playing at the moment. Although we are learning he is no Ray Allen, he certainly is a viable three point shooter that needs to gain the respect of Knicks defenders to open up the Boston offense. Look for Terry to get some open looks when he enters the game... and hope that he can make the most of them.
Kevin Garnett needs to be the most important player on the floor. Green and Pierce can carry the scoring load and play Melo as tough as they are able to, but Celtic playoff success has stemmed from The Big Ticket over the past six years. After sitting for a week, lets give KG a mulligan in game 1. But he is awake now and fully aware of the situation. All indications over his illustrious career point to Garnett being ready to roll in game 2.
Boston's ball handling in the fourth quarter NEEDS to be better. With no Rondo, all Celtics fans can agree the most safe place the ball can be down the stretch is in the hands of Pierce. Doc Rivers is too good a coach to let his team lose because of silly turnovers again. Look for some shakeups in late play calling if the score is close.
Prediction: Despite the ugly loss, the Celtics showed that they can beat the Knicks on the road. The score was right in the neighborhood the Celtics like it, Rivers and Co. will not let this one slip away. Expect more from Terry and particularly Garnett, expect Green and Pierce to try and force Melo to the bench, and expect Pierce to control the tempo late. The series heads back to Boston tied.