KNICKS 90 CELTICS 76 GAME 3 | TD GARDEN
How it happened:
Calm, cool, and collected, the Knicks marched into a hostile environment and dismantled the Celtics 90-76 on Friday night.
In the previous two games of the series, New York needed stifling defensive efforts in the second halves to capture wins. Tonight, the road team swarmed Boston in the second quarter while taking a commanding 3-0 lead in the first round rivalry tilt.
Head coach Doc Rivers adjusted his lineup prior to tipoff by placing Jason Terry at the shooting guard spot next to Avery Bradley. Paul Pierce shifted back to his natural position at small forward.
The move had no impact on the outcome as Boston continued to struggle on the offensive side of the floor. At the 8:45 mark of the second quarter, Jordan Crawford hit a 3-pointer to trim the Knicks lead down to 26-23.
Over the course of the next eight minutes, New York blitzed the home squad. J.R. Smith nailed a long bomb on a ball reversal when Boston double teamed Carmelo Anthony. Smith then connected on a layup in the lane before an alley-oop off a spin move from Anthony. All this action was part of a brilliant second period where New York outscored the Celtics 24-13 and waltzed into the locker room with a 16-point advantage.
Anthony went to work in the third frame to silence the rowdy Boston faithful. The All-Star hit a baseline turnaround jumper over Pierce and a catch-and-shoot trey that extended the lead back to 61-44 with 3:20 on the third quarter clock. He posted 10 of his game-high 26 points in the road victory.
Pablo Prigioni was the catalyst in the early stages of the contest tonight with three shots from downtown. The starting point guard scored all nine of his points in the first half but he created the momentum for New York while defusing the raucous crowd.
Once again, Raymond Felton delivered a dynamic performance as he carved up Boston’s defense en route to buckets at the rim or quick dishes out to his open teammates. Felton dropped 11 points and registered 10 dimes.
Without Rajon Rondo, a thin bench, and aging stars, the Celtics were unable to manufacture points. Pierce was regulated to just 17 points on 6-of-15 shooting from the floor. Kevin Garnett hauled down 17 boards but scored 12 points in the defeat.
Jeff Green was the most effective threat for Boston with 21 points.
The Knicks exercised some demons tonight by toppling the Celtics in a playoff game in Boston for the first time in 23 years. New York also won its first road playoff game since 2001 when it beat the Raptors in Toronto.
Knick of the Night:
Rivers spoke about how Felton has damaged his squad throughout the series. We saw more of the same from Felton in Game 3 as he capitalized on both sides of the floor. In 34 minutes, Felton scored 15 points, shot 50 percent from the floor and of course, the 10 crucial assists.
New York forced 18 turnovers from the Celtics, which resulted in 26 points for the road crew.
New York will remain in Boston for a practice session on Saturday afternoon. Game 4 is set for Sunday afternoon at 1 PM as the Knicks search for a series sweep over the Celtics.