Monday, April 22, 2013

Gearing Up For Game 2

Game 1 against the New York Knicks already feels like ages ago with the ups and downs Boston has been through lately. Not only that, but it almost feels like it was two different games.

The first half Boston showed us why they are considered one of the most feared seven seeds in recent memory. They outplayed the Knicks on both ends of the floor with moderate play by Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Boston was led by Jeff Green's 20 first half points, and went into the locker room feeling good with a 53-49 lead.

The second half was another story. As Jeff Green faded Carmelo Anthony shined. Melo finished with a game high 36 points, consistently dominating the game as opposed to Green's tentative approach. Turnovers were killer for the Celtics down the stretch, particularly from Pierce, Green and Avery Bradley. Three players you certainly do not want to see turnovers from are you captain, your leading scorer and your starting point guard, but that was the scenario for Boston. Pierce and Green has six turnovers each, including a huge one from Pierce that led to an Anthony fast-break basket with 2:30 remaining. Bradley also had four turnovers, two of them on what should have been easy entry passes to the post that Avery simply did not throw high enough.

The bench scored four points for Boston in this game. Moving Green into the starting lineup makes a dip in production expected, but not this severe. Jason Terry went scoreless, the same guy that was the clear cut second option on the NBA champion two years ago. Celtic fans were missing Ray Allen (20 points off the bench in his playoff debut with Miami), Terry does not need to be Ray, but he does need to challenge the NBA Sixth Man of the year J.R. Smith in bench production.

Finally the Knicks won the fourth quarter 18-8 to seal the deal. Not much else to say about that, but here are the three most important things going into game 2:

1. Crunch time scoring. No matter how well Jeff Green plays, this is Paul Pierce's team. Although Pierce picked up his scoring in the second half, he needs to be the clutch scorer for this team even if Green carries them the majority of the way there. They can not count of stopping Melo, so they are going to have to counter with Pierce.

2. Sorry to be repetitive, but TURNOVERS! A stretch of the game looked like a youth league team that could just not pass the ball against high pressure defense. Bradley not getting the ball high enough, Pierce getting his passes tipped. These lead directly to Knick fast-breaks and three pointers. Lets hope this was a one time thing, otherwise it is going to be a quick series.

3. Eight points and nine rebounds from Kevin Garnett is not enough. Garnett is the force that must be present for this Celtic team to beat anybody and it was not there on Saturday. KG shot 4-12 in 36 minutes. Simply put, expect more from him or expect to lose.

Game 2 is Tuesday night at 8 PM, lets hope the team that played the first half Saturday shows and up not the other one.

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