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Monday, April 18, 2011

Knicked Up

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The Knicks will have to wait yet another game to have the chance to end their decade long playoff win drought. New York unraveled down the stretch as the veteran bunch from Beantown took down the upstart Knicks 87-85 at TD Bank Garden. New York was outscored 48-34 in the second half, squandering a twelve point halftime lead. Questionable shot selection was abound as the main culprit, Carmelo Anthony, settled for perimeter shots throughout the majority of the game.

New York’s backcourt of Anthony and Chauncey Billups shot a putrid 8 of 29 from the field while combining for eight turnovers. Point man Chauncey Billups went down with an apparent knee strain with 59 seconds remaining in the game and his status for Tuesday night’s Game 2 is listed as doubtful. Amare' Stoudemire percolated tallying 28 points 11 rebounds overwhelming the Celtics post defenders. Inexplicably, Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni did not ride Stoudemire’s hot hand down the stretch as Amare’ did not touch the ball on the Knicks final five possessions of the ballgame. D’Antoni failed to save a timeout for New York’s final possession as Anthony was forced to throw up a deep three point that clanked off the front rim as the final seconds passed.

Boston’s furious comeback was fueled by Ray Allen who scampered around screens freeing himself for open jump shots. Arguably the purest shooter in the NBA, Allen stayed true to form connecting on 9 of 15 field goals for 24 points with 18 coming in the second half. The Celtics were able to control tempo and stagnate the Knicks high octane offense limiting New York to two fast break points. The Knicks will need to unleash their transition game
and secondary break if they hope to square the series Tuesday night. If Billups is unable to give it a go in Game 2, second year point man Tony Douglas will likely get the nod. Douglas knocked in eight points in Game 1, none larger than his go ahead step-back three pointer to give the Knicks a one point lead with 37 seconds remaining. The Knicks will need Douglas to replicate his late game performance if “Mr. Big Shot” (Billups) is sidelined with a knee strain.

Game 1 is in the books, but Knicks fans are hot and bothered by what has been called shoddy officiating down the stretch. Carmelo Anthony was charged with an offensive foul as he extended his arm to fend off Paul Pierce with the Knicks leading 85-84 and 27 seconds remaining. Pierce’s performance was Broadway worthy as he learned the art of flopping from fellow teammate Glen Davis who leads the NBA in charges taken with 42. Kevin Garnett’s hip check on Tony Douglas went unnoticed culminating in Ray Allen’s cold-blooded game winning three pointer.

New York has voiced their displeasure with Sunday night’s officiating, but has moved on and set their sights on Game 2. If New York hopes to exact revenge they will need to execute better down the stretch and play up-tempo forcing the geriatric Celtics into a track meet. “The City that Never Sleeps” will remain sleepless yet another night until their beloved Knicks end their playoff winless streak.
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