Quantcast 2011 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs: Round One - New York vs Boston

 

2011 NBA Playoff Preview – Eastern Conference First Round

Eastern Conference First Round Game 1 - Boston 87, New York 85 – Celtics lead series, 1-0

 

 

It was a night of entertaining yet flawed and poorly-officiated basketball in the NBA postseason. As a result of a cluttered and clamorous set of sequences at TD Garden in Boston, the hometown Celtics claimed a victory that the leprechauns at the old Boston Garden would have been proud of.

Strange forces and improbable plot twists delivered the Celtics a victory on a night when the defending Eastern Conference champions played far below their capabilities.

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The two most thoroughly scrutinized teams in the Eastern Conference provided yet another terrifically entertaining playoff contest. The New York Knicks are back in the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons. The Boston Celtics are looking to get to their second straight NBA Finals. With so much on the line, neither team backed down from combat, but one team did stub its toe in the crucible of crunch-time competition. In the end, it was a playoff veteran, Ray Allen, who made the difference while his counterparts from the Big Apple faltered. Allen’s clutch three-pointer with 11.6 seconds left in regulation put the Celtics up for good in a raucous affair that will leave deep scars in the Knicks’ psyches going forward.

The biggest controversy from this game is whether New York was given harsh treatment from the officials on the final few possessions of this contest. Leading by one point with under 30 second left, the Knicks had a chance to drive a dagger into the Celtics’ hearts. However, New York wing Carmelo Anthony was called for a dubious offensive foul, setting up Allen’s heroics. Paul Pierce, who was guarding Anthony, appeared to pull off one of his trademark flops, and the official bought the move – hook, line and sinker. Then, on the Celtics’ ensuing possession, Allen got free partly because Boston center Kevin Garnett tripped New York guard Toney Douglas, who was running to the left wing to cover Allen’s fade move. No whistle came from the officiating crew, and Allen was able to bang in his decisive trey.

 

 

It was a tough pair of pills to swallow for Knick fans who have endured several years of horrific basketball to experience a playoff game. This was the first postseason contest for the Knicks since 2004, and the agonizing denouement of this duel in New England will only make it harder for New Yorkers to deal with the less-than-satisfying finish that was made complete when Anthony missed a potential game-winning three pointer as time expired. It was Anthony’s 10th miss in 11 second-half attempts. The Knicks were in control of much of the game behind a tremendous performance from Amare Stoudemire. The skilled power forward posted 28 points and 11 rebounds in a losing effort. However, Amare never touched the rock in the final 90 seconds – this after abusing the Celtics’ defense with two sick moves on the Knicks’ previous few possessions. A reverse layup and a power dunk established Stoudemire’s supremacy, making the Knicks’ abandonment of him in the final minutes all the more baffling.

It was just another day at the office for the Celtics, who seemingly come through in nearly every high stakes playoff atmosphere. Allen had 24 points and Boston used some unexpected role players to grab the win. With Pierce, Garnett, and Rajon Rondo shooting poorly, Jermaine O’Neal picked up the slack, hitting on all six shot attempts. Without O’Neal’s step-up effort, Boston wouldn’t have been close at the end… close enough, at any rate, to benefit from friendly whistles and leave the Knicks fuming.

 

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By: Matt Zemek
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer


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