By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Knicks vs. Celtics | Madison Square Garden
When: Wednesday | 7:00 PM
Where to Watch: MSG Networks
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
Knicksnow Live In-Game Chat
New York: The Knicks trailed Game 4, 54-35, at halftime, so it's a testament to how well they played in the second half that they were able to force overtime. While they made no secret their desire to sweep the Celtics they also recognize that a team that has been so successful over the past few years wasn't likely to go down without a fight.
Boston did a good job blanketing Carmelo Anthony, particularly in the first half, making him take 35 shots for his game-high 36 points. Raymond Felton, the only Knick to play the entire second half and overtime, was instrumental in the comeback, scoring 27 points to go with four rebounds, three assists and three steals. The Knicks found success with an aggressive, trapping defense in the second half, but came up just short in OT.
Boston: After Game 3, Doc Rivers speculated that Kevin Garnett was probably growing impatient with his teammates' ability to consistently compete on his level. On Sunday, his teammates indeed stepped up, but KG only took it up another notch. Paul Pierce led the team with 29 points and Jason Terry made big shots down the stretch to finish with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting. But Garnett was the difference. His determination buoyed the Celtics as the Knicks fought back, scoring 13 points on only seven shots along with a whopping 17 rebounds and six assists.
The Numbers Game
Carmelo Anthony set a season high with 20 free throw attempts in Game 4. During the year, he had taken 18 once and 16 twice.
Matchup to Watch
Carmelo Anthony vs. Brandon Bass
It seems as though the Celtics have settled on Bass as the primary defender on Carmelo Anthony. It worked in Game 4, as the bigger Bass was able to funnel Melo toward the baseline and the middle, where help was waiting. Bass also fouled out with four minutes left in the game. When the two match up in Game 5, keep an eye on how quickly Melo makes his moves and if he is decisive when passing out of double teams. If he is, the Bass and the Celtics could be in for a long night.
What to Look For
The Knicks will welcome J.R. Smith back into the rotation tonight. J.R. (and probably others) will tell you that this would have been a sweep if not for his absence in Game 4, so expect the Knicks and their Sixth Man of the Year to come out firing in this one...When asked about Chris Copeland's minutes, Coach Woodson said he has decided to go with Steve Novak in his place...Tyson Chandler looked fantastic on Sunday -- by far the best he has all postseason. The Celtics had tremendous difficulty keeping him off the glass, so we'll see if that continues tonight and if it means he might be ready to assume a greater part of the pick-and-roll game.