By Max Marcilla
Knicks 86 Celtics 92
Prior to Game 5 at Madison Square Garden the Knicks forward/center Kenyon Martin proclaimed the game as the Celtic’s funeral. He told the Knicks to wear black, but the game turned out to be anything but a funeral.
In the first 4:29, the Knicks were on fire. Coming out of the locker room, New York was up 11-0, as they looked amazing on both sides of the ball. However, led by Jeff Green and a rejuvenated Jason Terry, the Celtics took the lead, and at the half, they led by 6. However, the score didn’t show how bad the first half was for the Knicks.
Both teams shot poorly, shooting 41%, but what let the Knicks fans down is how far they declined. After the 11-0 start, the Knicks were outscored by 17 in the remaining 19:31, down 45-39 at half.
Despite a bad first half, the Knicks were still in the game, as they stayed relatively close in the second half, until the Knicks allowed the Celtics to take a double-digit lead in the fourth. It was an eventful first half, and despite multiple attempts at chipping away the Celtic lead, the Knicks had no one with the hot hand, and couldn’t get a stop on defense resulting in the Celtic win.
First off, Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith had horrific games. Melo injured his left shoulder while matched-up against Kevin Garnett and finished 8-24. But even before the injury he struggled. Anthony started off 6-9 and had 15 points, but finished 2-15 including missing 12 of 13 during one stretch. Anthony only went to the free-throw line 6 times, despite making all 6, Anthony only finished with 22 points.
J.R. Smith returned from his 1-game suspension for an elbow to the face of Jason Terry, and looked like he wasn’t in the game. After a lot of trash talk to Terry, Smith was unable to back it up. Smith started 0-10 before hitting 3 of his last 4 two final minute three’s with the victor already determined. He wasn’t driving and thriving like he has been, as he relied on tough contested jump shots. With Melo having an off day, the Knicks needed Smith to step up, but he was even worse.
However, not everything was bad about this game. Once again Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert were superb. Raymond Felton (for the second straight game) was the MVP of the team. Felton, opposed to Smith, drove to the basket with consistency and success. Felton finished with one less field goal then Smith and Anthony combined (10) and took 19 shots compared to the 38 by Smith and Anthony combined. Felton also was the lone Knick that was passing the ball well, as his stats showed. He was the only Knick with more then 2 assists.
Iman Shumpert had a very similar game to his effort in Game 4. Shumpert was playing lock-down defense and was able to steal the ball, leading the team with 3 picks, and even had success offensively scoring 12 on 4-7 shooting. It has been a year and nearly a week since the torn ACL Shumpert suffered, and despite the results, Games 4 and 5 have been two of the best games in his young career.
Lastly, Tyson Chandler had a productive game. His defense was solid, as he and Kenyon Martin held the Celtics to only 28 points in the paint. He looked energized and healthy on the court, as Chandler was the receiver of two alley-oops and recorded his second straight double-digit rebounding game.
The one stat that really baffled my mind was the three-pointers. In the regular season, the Knicks attempted the most threes and had the second highest percentage, while the Celtics were 26th in three’s attempted. However, the Knicks shot 5-22 from beyond the arc, and the C’s were 11-22. The Knicks were simply beat at their own game. Give Doc Rivers some credit for this win. They played harder and made some adjustments against the Knicks. Woodson needs to do the same if they want to win game 6 in Boston.
The Knicks considered this game a must-win, and after losing the last 2 games badly, calling Game 6 a ‘must-win’ is an understatement for the Knicks. Even though they are up 3 games to 2, the pressure is all on them. Game 6 will be on Friday at 7:00 on TNT and MSG. Could this series go 7?
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