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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Celtics Pride Is Alive, Well Sort Of

It was long overdue (say 3 games) but the Celtics finally should some fight with stretches of solid execution mixed in and they were able to avoid getting swept by the Knicks. Boston beat New York 97-90 in overtime this afternoon in Game 4 of their first round playoff series at TD Garden.

Paul Pierce (29 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists), Jeff Green (25 points, 6 rebounds) and Kevin Garnett (13 points, 17 rebounds, 6 assists) carried the Celts while Jason Terry (18 points) picked a good time to show up for one of the first times this season.

Of course the C's had to make things way more difficult on themselves than need be since J.R. Smith was suspended for Game 4 and they led by 20 points in the third quarter (59-39). Carmelo Anthony scored 36 points with seven rebounds as only he can: on 10-of-35 shooting from the floor and 16-for-20 on free throws. HHaha my man was 0-for-7 on 3-pointers. The Knicks rallied and nearly stole this one since Raymond Felton (27 points, 3 steals) had the NBA game of his life. Iman Shumpert added 12 points, 12 rebounds, two steals and two blocks while Tyson Chandler grabbed 11 rebounds.

Boston had nothing to lose and they played like it from the start. The Celtics outscored the Knicks 22-17 in the first quarter and took a 54-35 halftime lead. New York crawled back into it since KG, Green and Brandon Bass all picked up four fouls early in the third quarter thanks to the usual crooked NBA refs. The Knicks outscored the Celtics 30-14 in the third quarter to cut it to 68-65 heading into the fourth quarter. New York took the fourth quarter 19-16 as Pierce missed a last-second game-winner for the millionth time in the last few seasons.

I couldn't believe it with my own eyes but Terry took over in the extra session, hitting a huge 3-pointer, layup, two free throws then the garbage time layup to seal it. I didn't think there was any chance the Celts would get it done once it went to overtime but I'm happy that they proved me (and many others) wrong.

Boston's defense was outstanding as they held New York to 34.4% shooting while the Celts shot 44.7%. The Knicks made it very interesting by owning the boards (54-40 total, 16-3 on offensive rebounds). The Celtics had 12 more assists (22-10) as they remembered how to play team basketball against Melo's one-man team. Boston had seven more fast break points (15-8) while New York scored eight more points off Boston's turnovers (18-10).

History is still squarely on the Knicks' side since no NBA team has ever come back from down 3-0 in a series. Game 3 is Wednesday (time TBA, CSN) at Madison Square Garden and all I'll say is that if the Celts can somehow win that one, then it'll get interesting. However, I'm not counting on that by any means.

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