Originally posted on Celtics Town  |  Last updated 4/23/13
The Celtics were looking to bounce back from a disappointing game one performance where Boston was only able to finagle eight fourth quarter points.  The Celtics were up by six entering the halftime locker-room, and then it happened again.  The ball stopped moving and the Knicks buckled down on defense.  The rest was a blur: the Knicks make a lot of shots, some tough and some not, and the Celtics couldn’t make even the open looks.  The final damage was getting outscored 32-11 in the quarter.  The game one fourth quarter, the game two third quarter, it just cannot happen if the Celtics are going to extend this series.  The tease of the first half shows Boston can still play against top tier teams, only to be disappointed by letting the Knicks completely outplay and outclass them in the second half.  I decided to split my notes from the game into two sections from before halftime and after, to highlight some of the contrast.First HalfThe Knicks continue to switch on even the most delicate of screens on the perimeter.  The Celtics looked to take advantage of this most often with the Knicks point guard switching onto Paul Pierce.  This is a nice play to start offensive sets with, but also results in isolation plays from the top of the key.  A double-edged sword indeed…Doc, as he hinted before the game, expanded his rotation and included Wilcox and Randolph both who got some run in the first half.There was much talk about Jason Terry’s oh-fer (0-5) in game one.  I did not know if he still had the star power to give him the ‘he’s too good not to bounce back’ treatment but thankfully, he was able to prove me wrong.  JET came up with a trio of three-pointers in the first half to put some of my worries to rest.Brandon Bass was a necessary beast on the boards tonight, collecting eight in the first half.Boston shot over 50% in the first half, and held the halftime lead 48-42.Second HalfCarmelo Anthony outscored the Celtics 13-11 in the third quarter.  Yikes.  Not a successful recipe for winning basketball.The first half run was all for Shavlik Randolph and Chris Wilcox were the only meaningful minutes they got.  I wish Doc was more willing to try different approaches when things are not going well (see: entire second half).Courtney Lee gets his first minutes of the night down 16 in the fourth quarter in what was essentially garbage time.  WHAT?! Jordan Crawford and Jason Terry combined for 59 minutes (or 29.5 minutes a piece).  Why is Lee so far down in the depth charts?! AHHH!The Celtics cut it to single digits with a little Jordan Crawford mix-up-magic (which is what I will be calling the out of control beauty that is JC27 from here on out) and a Pierce three-pointer.  Then New York realized that Carmelo Anthony was still on the Knicks and he was more than capable of making shots, and the lead was inflated as quickly as Boston’s chances of winning were deflated.Kevin Garnett continues to struggle in this series and has yet to come back to full form since returning from injury.  Just speculating now– KG is just not healthy.  The Big Ticket finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds, but was not reliable enough to depend on when the C’s tried to string together consecutive buckets.The final tally was 23 points in the second half scored by the Celtics.  I present this without comment.This Celtics team is easy to give up on after a second half performance like the one presented tonight.  I cannot think that high character high pride players like Pierce and Garnett will go out with a whisper.  Both teams will be headed back to Boston for their game Friday and expect heavy hearts and determined play from the Celtic green because tonight, frankly, they got embarrassed.Follow Jesse on Twitter: J_duderanch
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