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 2 - Boston 96, New York 93 – Celtics lead series, 2-0

 

 

In a classic battle between Carmelo Anthony and Rajon Rondo, the confrontation between Kevin Garnett and Jared Jeffries wound up deciding the issue. The New York Knicks won points for grit and resilience in the face of adversity, but the Boston Celtics won another playoff game to put their New York counterparts in a very deep ditch.

The second half of this enthralling encounter at TD Garden in Boston was a battle between two NBA stars. Carmelo Anthony was simply an offensive machine in the final 24 minutes. Beginning with a three pointer just 45 seconds into the second half, Anthony poured in 26 second half points as he single-handedly took the undermanned Knicks on his back.

Rajon Rondo was not to be outdone. The diminutive point guard pushed the ball at every opportunity and was scoring in transition at will. Rondo finished with 30 points and 7 assists. During a three-minute stretch beginning at the 7:37 mark of the final stanza Rondo either scored or assisted on Boston’s five of successful possessions. Boston took an 88-86 lead with 4:37 left.

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With the game tied at 88 with just under three minutes left, Anthony hit another three-pointer, his fourth of the game, to give the Knicks a three-point lead. Shockingly, it would be Anthony’s final shot attempt. However, whereas the Knicks simply abandoned Amare Stoudemire in the final minutes of Sunday’s Game 1, this contest featured hard and immediate double-teams by the Celtics whenever Anthony got the ball. The Knicks tried to get the rock to their superstar, but Boston made it unrealistic for Anthony to get any good looks at crunch time.

Other people had to step up in Anthony’s absence, and when Jared Jeffries’s driving layup with 19 seconds left gave the Knicks a one point lead, it seemed that New York’s role players were going to help Melo reach the finish line first. However, the defending East champions didn’t back down… what else would you expect?

Kevin Garnett followed with a clutch basket at the 13 second mark and came up with the game-winning steal after Anthony was forced to pass to Jeffries out of a double-team on the game’s most decisive possession. Two wins over Jeffries enabled Garnett to swing this series in the Celtics' direction, sparing the third seed a series split heading into a raucous Madison Square Garden for the upcoming weekend.

 

 

On the ensuing inbound, the Knicks were unable to corral Boston’s Delonte West before time had nearly expired. The ball was inbounded with 4.1 seconds left, but West wasn’t fouled until 0.6 seconds remained on the clock. Yet another blunder down the stretch killed a Knicks team that lost both games in Boston by a combined five points.

Anthony finished with 42 points and 17 rebounds in an all-time playoff performance. The Knicks played the entire second half without Stoudemire due to back spasms. Rondo scored 30 points to lead the Celtics on a night when a gritty underdog battled and battled but had nothing to show for it at the end.

 

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By: Matt Zemek
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer


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