By Matt Noonan
Carmelo Anthony scored 42 points against a banged up and battered Boston Celtics squad, but once the buzzer sounded at the TD Garden on Tuesday, Boston had officially handed New York its second playoff loss.
The Celtics 96-93 victory against the Knicks was certainly one the team earned, but yet again, it came down to clutch shooting, experience and smart ball movement.
After the game Paul Pierce spoke with Comcast Sports New England’s Greg Dickerson and stated that the Celtics need to continue to push the tempo and play better defense against Anthony.
I wonder if the Celtics happen to remember what that “word” is because against a stingy New York Knicks squad, they allowed 20 offensive rebounds and eight three-pointers. Although, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers preaches the importance of defense, but Tuesday was certainly a game they don’t want to remember, especially defensively.
The Knicks entered Game 2 without Chauncey Billups, which obviously impacted their offense, but once Amare Stoudemire left the game due to back spasms, the fate of New York rested on the broad shoulders of Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony played a total of 44 minutes, as well as connected on 14 of 30 shots from the field. He converted 10 of 12 free throws and knocked down four three-pointers.
Besides Anthony’s outstanding performance, the Celtics watched their own super hero, Rajon Rondo, who finished the game with 30 points. Rondo was incredibly focused and motivated for the entire 48 minutes, especially during the opening minutes of the first quarter, as he helped the Green and White’s sluggish offense.
Kevin Garnett finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Ray Allen contributed 18 points, two assists and three steals.
All in all, the Celtics efforts were rather impressive, but now both teams will travel Madison Square Garden for Friday’s Game 3 contest that begins at 7:00pm eastern.
With a win on Friday, the Knicks can certainly climb back into this particular series, but one more loss could put an end to yet another promising season.