The New York Knicks faced off with the Boston Celtics, a game which some people labeled as a ‘rivalry’ game. The Knicks and Celtics faced off in the first round of the 2011 Playoffs, so they were fairly accustomed to each other already.
The Knicks did not get off to a fast start and the Celtics seemed like the more energetic team. If it were indeed a rivalry game, the Celtics definitely wanted to come out and put his game away early. New York was not playing with a lot of energy and the Garden crowd remained fairly calm. The match had a slow pace and that worked in the Celtics’ favor.
However, despite the poor start by the Knicks they found a way to take the lead. With 6:55 to play in the opening quarter, the Knicks were up 10-9.
As the quarter went on both teams stepped up on the offensive end and were finally hitting their shots. It was a game of runs in the opening 12 minutes and the Knicks made a nice push as the period came to an end. The pace of the game was sped up and that helped the Knicks tremendously. At the end of the first quarter, the Knicks were up 32-26 behind 12 points from Carmelo Anthony.
The Knicks came out firing in the second quarter and took complete control of the game. J.R. Smith provided the team with some much needed three-point shooting (4-4) and the Celtics had no answer for him. New York was clicking on all cylinders and it was nice seeing the squad shine with Carmelo Anthony on the bench for his rest. Thanks to an 18-0 run, the Knicks led the Celtics 40-26.
The three-point onslaught continued for the rest of the quarter and the Knicks completely opened up the lead. Thanks to 14 three-point makes in the opening half, the Knicks headed to the locker-room up 72-53. Smith led the Knicks with 21 points and seven three-point shots.
The Knicks continued to play well in the third quarter but the Celtics made a big run as the period progressed. New York had struggled in third quarters and the Celtics used this time to cut into the deficit. The Knicks were not knocking down their shots and the offense was not as explosive as it once was.
However, just when it seemed as though the Celtics would come within single-digits the Knicks used their shooting to open up the lead. Through three quarters, the Knicks were leading 96-84 after getting outscored by six in the period.
In the fourth quarter the Knicks and Celtics went back-and-forth. That style of play worked in the Knicks’ favor as they had an answer for nearly every bucket. The Celtics made a nice surge in the previous quarter, so the Knicks had to do everything they could to halt the run. With 8:31 left in the game, the Knicks had a 103-92 lead.
In the latter portion of the final period, the Celtics and Knicks increased the level of play and there was no doubt a playoff atmosphere. Every possession carried a little more meaning and it was evident the Knicks were starting to lose momentum.
However, in the final minutes of the game the Knicks relied on the three-point shot to put away the Celtics. Steve Novak continued with his amazing shooting and he would always find himself knocking down shots from beyond the arc.
As the final buzzer rang, the Knicks walked away with an impressive 118-110 win. Novak ended the game with 25 points and eight three-point shots, Smith had 25 also with seven three points shots and Carmelo Anthony had 35 points, 12 rebounds and ten assists.