By Max Marcilla
Knicks 90 Celtics 76
The Knicks manhandled the Boston Celtics in game three tonight, winning by a final score of 90-76. Coming into the series, the Knicks were known as a team that can live and die by the three-point shot. The Knicks were a team capable of scoring 110 points at any time, and while they are still very capable of that, their identity has changed, making them a much more feared team.
Now, the already accomplished Knicks have mastered their defense, and are playing the best defense of the season, in my opinion, for any team in the playoffs right now. In the first three games of this series, the Knicks have held the Celtics to an average of 75 points per game. They have not permitted Boston to score in the 80′s.
The game was in control the entire way, unlike the past two games. The Knicks only deficit was 2-0 after a Jason Terry lay-up to start off the game. Even though Carmelo Anthony got off to a slow shooting start, the rest of the team was able to pick up the slack the first half.
The guards in this game were amazing, offensively and defensively. First off, Pablo Prigioni, who earned the nickname from me “Little Thief”, had one of the “typical Pablo games”. Prigioni did his usual damage: He gave 110%, dished a few beautiful passes, and recorded 5 steals (hence the nickname), but he tried out something new in the first quarter. He shot the ball. Prigioni stepped up when Melo was struggling by hitting 3 early three-pointers, propelling the Knicks out to an early lead, for which they never looked back on.
COACH MIKE WOODSON POST GAME INTERVIEW
PABLO SPEAKS THE TRUTH AFTER THE GAME
Not only was it Prigioni who had his best game of the series but also Iman Shumpert. Whether you want to classify him as a third guard in the starting five or a small forward, he was phenomenal. Even though Shumpert struggled shooting (1-5 from the field) his other aspects in his game were flawless. He didn’t turn the ball over once, while he came through defensively by totaling 3 steals, all of which got the Knick fans (and even some Celtic fans) ooh-ing and ahh-ing.
Despite the great efforts from Shumpert and Prigioni, their play was outshined by the precision work from Raymond Felton. As the true #1 point guard on the team, the Knicks are judged off of Felton’s play. If he has a good game, the Knicks will usually play well, and vice versa. Today was an outstanding game for Felton. His ability to pass the ball was put on full display tonight, as he finished with a double-double (15 points, 10 assists). What impressed me most about Felton’s game aside from his passing abilities was his shot selection. He was consistently able to drive the ball to the basket, and in the rare occurrence that the lane wasn’t open; he would hit an open jumper.
Even though Felton, in my opinion, was the MVP of the game, without a doubt the most dominant player was Carmelo Anthony. Anthony shot poorly in the early stages of the game, but once he got his groove, he was lethal. Anthony finished with 26 points on 12-25 shooting, once again, leaving the Knick fanbase in anticipation for more outstanding performances, as the Knicks move deeper into their postseason surge.
Game 4 from Boston is on Sunday at 1:00 PM EST. With the ability to sweep the Boston Celtics on the line, there is no doubt in my mind the Knicks will come out anxious and ready. They proved once again tonight, that they can win in a hostile environment on the road, and I believe they can do it again. If the Knicks can beat Boston on Sunday, it will be the first time since 2000 they accomplished this status.
Game Notes: In the fourth quarter, after some back and fourth contact, J.R Smith elbowed Jason Terry, prompting a flagrant 2 foul and an ejection. A suspension costing Smith the opportunity to play in game four is possible.
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