NBA PLAYOFFS 2013
(2) New York Knicks VS Boston Celtics (7)
Regular season record: 54-28 New York Knicks : Boston Celtics 41-40
Regular season series: New York Knicks 3 – 1 Boston Celtics
- Carmelo Anthony became just the second winner of the scoring title in Knicks franchise history as he made a career-best 2.3 shots from 3-point distance per game this season. His previous career-high was 1.2 made per game.
- Anthony, J.R. Smith, Steve Novak, Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton as well as others helped New York set the NBA record for most single-season 3-pointers made (891) and attempted (2371). The Knicks were 37-8 during the regular season when making 11 or more 3-pointers, but were 17-20 when they did not.
- The Celtics though have the league’s best defense against the 3-pointer since January 2, the day that Avery Bradley returned from multiple offseason shoulder surgeries to play his first game of 2012-13. The Celtics have held teams to worse than 33 percent shooting from deep in that span.
- However, New York is the only team to make 13 or more 3-pointers against Boston this season. The Knicks have impressively accomplished that feat twice.
- The Celtics have won at least one playoff series each of the previous five postseasons while the Knicks have not won a playoff series since 2000. The 1999-2000 season was also the last time New York won at least 50 games.
New York can win if…
While defensive-minded Mike Woodson coaches the Knicks, the 3-pointer is the most important part of their game. They are an average defensive team, but their shooting has made them one of the league’s best offenses. The Knicks have to be able to overcome their recent injury trouble by shooting very well from the field. Tyson Chandler missed the last six games of the season as well as 16 of the team’s final 20 contests. Kenyon Martin, who is no spring chicken, will also need to find his rhythm after playing just 18 minutes in New York’s last eight games of 2012-13. Moreover, Pablo Prigioni sprained his ankle in the season finale on Wednesday. The Knicks are more than five points worse per 100 possessions without him on the floor this season.
Boston can win if…
Both statistically and in reality, Kevin Garnett is the Celtics’ most important defensive player and Paul Pierce is the Celtics’ most important offensive player. When Garnett is on the bench, Boston is nine points worse per 100 defensive possessions compared to when he plays. In addition, the Celtics are more than five points worse per 100 offensive possessions when Pierce is sitting. Boston has held Anthony to just 35 percent shooting in four games this season, his worst against any Eastern Conference opponent. If Jeff Green and the other Celtics defenders can make one of the league’s best scorers have some inefficient games this series, it bodes very well for the Celtics’ chances.
The Celtics continue their strong defense from the second half of the season and step it up against a Knicks team that is too reliant on the 3-point shot. Boston’s defense is more consistent than New York’s shooting. Doc Rivers continues his masterful coaching job as the Celtics take down the Knicks for the second time in the last three postseasons.
Winner: Boston Celtics 4 – 2 New York Knicks