Boston Celtics : 78 : : New York Knicks : 85 — April 20, 2013 (GAME 1)
Stating out, I liked how New York wasn’t scrambling on defense. They closed out strong, but they weren’t running out on shooters too quickly and leaving their feet. They gave up a few open shots this way, but mostly what was happening was that their defense wasn’t breaking down. On the other end, they’d have Boston scrambling, sometimes for a loose ball, and would find a way to get a good look from those broken plays. Of course, that wasn’t enough and the Celtics had the Knicks offense running a little sluggish overall, taking a 4-point lead into the half.
Brandon Bass and Jeff Green (who chipped in an efficient 26 points himself) did a great job guarding Carmelo Anthony after a very hot first few minutes. Melo tried to take more than they were giving him, which wasn’t much, and it was a bad look. He finished with 36 points on 29 shots, bookending a poor shot selection and shooting performance with enough offensive brilliance to help his team get by. The Knicks probably could have put this away sooner, because their defense went from holding strong to forcing turnovers and run outs in the second half, but they missed some shots from all over the field that they’d normally hit. The defense was great though and it seemed to bring energy to everything else they were doing.
As always, Jason Kidd was pesky in the 4th, but Kenyon Martin was a thorn all game long. He finished with 10 points and a team-leading 9 rebounds (plus a steal and 2 blocks) and always seemed to be in the right spot. I’ve never liked him, but I’m always impressed (or annoyed if he’s playing against a team I’m rooting for) by all the small things he does. It’s just a home win for the Knicks, but nothing’s guaranteed in this series so it was big.
New York Knicks lead the series 1-0