By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Knicks vs. Celtics | TD Bank Garden
When: Friday | 8:00 PM
Where to Watch: MSG Networks
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
Knicksnow Live In-Game Chat
New York: The Knicks have now won 16 of the last 18 games they've played. This includes, of course, the first two games of this series. They are rolling, and as they head to Boston, there is a sense that a series some expected to be close could turn into a laugher. Even though the Knicks have not been at their best offensively over the last two games, they've scored plenty to go along with defense that's been suffocating for at least the last six or so quarters, led by Carmelo Anthony's 70 points in the first two contests.
Boston: The Celtics' issues that surfaced in Game 1 only got worse in Game 2. They continued to have trouble scoring, and that was before both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce got into foul trouble. They were able to cut down on the turnovers from 20 to 11, but their second half offense was even worse than it was when they scratched out only 25 points in Game 1. Kevin Garnett is listed as probable for tonight with a hip pointer.
The Numbers Game
The Knicks held the Celtics to 23 points on only seven made field goals in the second half of Game 2, breaking their own record for second half offensive futility that they set in Game 1.
Matchup to Watch
Iman Shumpert vs. Paul Pierce
On its face, this wouldn't seem like such a compelling matchup. Pierce is a 10-time All-Star, while Shump has spent the majority of his second pro season working his way back from a knee injury. But where we stand today, the Knicks have to feel very good when they get this matchup. Raymond Felton could start on Pierce, but it will continue to be a team effort in slowing Boston's go-to scorer. Shump showed off his athleticism in Game 2, especially with the way he turned defense into offense with two open court threes in the open court to spark the decisive third quarter run.
What to Look For
Tonight, the Knicks will have a chance to put away the Celts. No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in a seven game series, and with the way this one has gone so far, you wouldn't expect that to change if the Knicks can pull it out tonight. New York had great success attacking the Celtics' stars in Game 2, and will look to saddle Garnett and Pierce with foul trouble again. Boston is reeling, and they just cannot afford to not have their top guys on the court for most of the game. According to the Boston Globe, Courtney Lee has lost his spot in an already thin Celtics rotation. "I'm not playing him right now," Doc Rivers said on Thursday. "Honestly, Jordan (Crawford) has moved in front of him on the depth chart."