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Thursday, May 2, 2013

If Any Team Can Blow A 3-0 Series Lead In The NBA, It's Gotta Be The Knicks

My how things can change over two games in the NBA playoffs or roughly 12 days. The Knicks had a chance to sweep the Celtics on Sunday but lost 97-90 in OT. No problem, everybody knew they'd come back to Madison Square Garden tonight with J.R. Smith and get rid of the C's once and for all. Well it turns out that didn't happen either as Boston beat New York 92-86 to cut the series lead to 3-2.

This is where I remind you that no team in NBA history has ever rallied from an 0-3 deficit. All I said on Sunday is that I wanted to see what would happen in a Game 6 in Boston. I got my wish, the series returns to TD Garden on Friday (7 p.m., CSN). Enough can't be overstated about the heart, competitiveness and desire of Kevin Garnett (16 points, 18 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks) and Paul Pierce (16 points). Jeff Green had 18 points for the Celts, Brandon Bass (17 points, 5 rebounds) kept them in it after they were down 11-0 to start the game while Jason Terry (17 points) was clutch for the second game in a row.

The Knicks are frontrunning clowns who cared more about playing dress up (showing up in all black clothes for a "Celtics funeral") than winning a basketball game. Carmelo Anthony had 22 points on 8-of-24 shooting and seven rebounds. Believe it or not, Raymond Felton (21 points, 6 rebounds) has been New York's steadiest player throughout this up and down series. Iman Shumpert added 12 points, six rebounds and three steals while Tyson Chandler grabbed 11 rebounds. Smith had 14 points but he was a Melo-esque 3-of-14 from the floor.

Other than the very ugly beginning, this was a game that Boston controlled for the final three plus quarters. They pulled to within 22-20 after one and led 45-39 at halftime. The Celtics outscored the Knicks 25-22 in the third and opened up a 15-point lead early in the fourth (75-60) before hanging on for dear life.

This was the team we loved to watch after they pulled together following Rondo's injury, they're tough, smart and don't back down from anyone. Boston shot 6.2% better from the field than New York (45.7%-39.5%) and they beat the Knicks at their own game by hitting six more 3-pointers (11-5). If that wasn't enough, the C's managed to dish out seven more assists (20-13) than the all-iso Knicks.

Now the Celtics have all the momentum in the series and this loss has to put some serious doubt in the Knicks' heads. Suddenly, all the pressure is on New York who FYI hasn't won a playoff series since 2000. So yeah, there is still plenty of work to do but the C's could actually pull this off.

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