By Kenneth Teape
Final Score: Knicks: 90 Celtics: 97
The Knicks once again spotted the Celtics a first half to forget but unlike Game 1 and 2 they were not able to finish the comeback this time around. The Celtics went up by as many as 20 points but once again imploded in the second half, giving the Knicks an opportunity to get back in the game and even take a lead at the end. The Knicks struggled to put the ball in the basket throughout the game without Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith, who was suspended for the afternoon after a flagrant-2 foul when he elbowed Jason Terry in Game 3. The Knicks will look to bounce back and close out the series Wednesday night back at Madison Square Garden with Smith back in the lineup.
Melo Post Game
Tyson Post Game
Felton Post Game
Knicks Players Post Game
Raymond Felton was great for the Knicks tonight. He stepped up huge in the scoring department with the Knicks needing someone to score alongside Carmelo Anthony. Felton had a monster third quarter to get the Knicks back on track and make the Celtics lead disappear. Felton scored 16 of his 27 in the third quarter, scoring 10 points in a 17-7 stretch the Knicks went on to end the quarter to cut the Celtics lead to three heading into the fourth. Felton also gave the Knicks their first lead of the game with a jumper with 1:18 left in the fourth quarter, but the Knicks were unable to hold onto lead. In addition to the 27 points, Felton finished the game adding four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Iman Shumpert also played a big role for the Knicks in their comeback. Shumpert had five points and six rebounds in the third quarter and added seven more points in the fourth as he saw his minutes increased today with Smith sidelined. Shumpert also played great defense throughout the afternoon, including a steal and layup in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 74. Shumpert played as good of defense as a player at the size disadvantage he was matching up with Paul Pierce and Jeff Green throughout the game. Shumpert finished the game with a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 12 rebounds while adding two blocks and two steals as well.
Tyson Chandler had quite possibly his strongest game of the season in Game 4. He grabbed 11 rebounds in 31 minutes of play, adding five points, one assist and one steal. Chandler has looked a little off after hurting his neck and missing 16 of 20 games heading into the playoffs but looks to be rounding into shape a little more as the series wears on. He still has his moments where he doesn’t look all the way back but he is definitely improving from Game 1 and 2.
Without Smith coming off the bench there was virtually no production from the second unit of the Knicks. In a role reversal from the first three games, the Celtics bench outscored the Knicks bench 22-7 as Martin scored four points and Novak scored three. Without Smith the Knicks relied heavily on the starting unit to provide all of the scoring; Smith was sorely missed this afternoon.
Anthony had another big scoring night getting 36 points, but it was not an easy 36 by any means. He shot 10 of 35 from the field but did make 16 of 20 foul shots, missing two crucial free throws in the fourth quarter with the game tied. Statistically though, Anthony was the worst player on the court today, ending with a -10; the Knicks made their run in the third quarter with him on the bench behind the play of Felton. Anthony also turned the ball over seven times; looking almost disinterested at times throughout the game and not playing with the same edge he had in the first three games of the series and down the stretch of the regular season. Everyone has a bad-shooting day once in a while and could not have come at a better time as the Knicks entered up 3-0.
The first half was as bad as the Knicks have played at any point of the season, looking like they did during the disastrous west coast trip in March. They turned the ball over 12 times, more than they did per full game in the regular season, and could not hit water if they fell out of a boat in the ocean let alone put the ball in the basket. The Knicks scored only 35 points in the first half and did not look ready at the start of the game.
The shooting for the Knicks was rough throughout the afternoon, as they shot 34.4 percent going 31 of 90 from the field. The three point shooting was not much better, as they shot seven of 30 for 23.3 percent. The Knicks will need better efficiency in Game 5 to close out the series and finish off the Celtics.
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