(L-R) Roger Mason (18) and Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks react against the Boston Celtics in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 22, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

NBA Playoffs, Knicks Vs. Celtics Game 5: New York Tries To Stay Alive

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NBA Playoffs: Celtics 113, Knicks 96: Celtics' Stars Show Up, Knicks' Don't As Celtics Take 3-0 Lead

New York Knicks fans have been waiting 10 years for a playoff victory.

Keep waiting.

The Boston Celtics’ stars badly outplayed the Knicks’ as Boston opened up a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven series and have put the Knicks on the brink. Rajon Rondo had a triple double, and Ray Allen and Paul Pierce had lights out nights as the Celtics defeated the Knicks, 113-96.

The Madison Square Garden crowd that was so fired up for playoff basketball was quieted instantly, as the Celtics defended like hell and jumped out to a 22-5 lead. Thanks to the play of their bench, including offense provided by Bill Walker and Shawne Williams, the Knicks were able to cut into the Celtics lead. Still, the first half was owned by the Celtics, with their stars stepping up. While Carmelo Anthony had just 12 points in the first half and Amare Stoudemire was essentially invisible, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett all enjoyed good openings to the game. Pierce took the first quarter, and Allen’s deadly three-point shooting continued, bedeviling the Knicks defense throughout the first 24 minutes.

And that was really it. Because the third quarter belonged completely to the Celtics, who played with the Knicks and led by 23 heading into the fourth quarter. The Knicks simply didn’t show up in Game 3, and for a team lacking in talent, they had zero chance.

Let’s face it. In any sport when you’re trying to pull an upset, you really need to be completely healthy. This series ended when Chauncey Billups got hurt in Game 1. Even if Anthony’s Game 2 heroics got the Knicks a win, without Billups and an effective Stoudemire, the Knicks had no chance. The Knicks simply aren’t talented enough for this time of year, especially with two of their top three players hurt. Without Billups and Stoudemire (who essentially was useless in Game 3), the Knicks sorely lack talent. When a team like the Celtics played as well as it did tonight, a team with the likes of Walker, Williams, Jared Jeffries and Roger Mason simply has no chance. The only reason the Knicks had a prayer in Game 2 was because of Anthony, and he was nowhere near his Game 2 level tonight.

Knicks fans have been waiting 10 years for a playoff victory. It looks like they’ll have to wait until 2012 for the next one.

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Amare Stoudemire 'Should Be Ready,' Chauncey Billups Might Not Be

It looks like the New York Knicks will have at least one of their two injured stars back in the lineup Friday night for Game 3 of their NBA playoff series against the Boston Celtics. Reports indicate that forward Amare Stoudemire "should be ready," while point guard Chauncey Billups is less certain with a strained left knee.

The Knicks will be hosting their first playoff game at Madison Square Garden since 2004 when they host Boston on Friday. The two excruciating losses at TD Garden have them in a 2-0 hole, and mean New York has still not won a playoff game since the 2001 season.

"We’re still confident. As they say, and everybody says, it doesn’t start until somebody wins on the other guy’s court," Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said. "They held service. We’ve got to go Friday and I’m sure it’s going to be a great atmosphere and Amare should be ready and that right there is going to be all out. And I think our heads are high and the locker room is good and they’re confident, and I can’t wait until Friday."

The Knicks need at least Stoudemire healthy and productive if they are to have a real chance to get back in the series. They will also need to find a way to execute at the end of games. New York led both games late only to watch Boston make all the clutch plays.

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NBA Playoffs: Game 2 - Celtics 96, Knicks 93: Anthony's Incredible Performance Isn't Enough

The New York Knicks, in their heart of hearts, do not believe they can beat the Boston Celtics. Once again, the Knicks hd a lead late in the fourth quarter, and couldn’t hold on, losing 96-93 to the Celtics in Game 2, putting their season on the brink. Carmelo Anthony put on one of the great postseason performances in Knicks history, scoring 42 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. He had to be that good; Chauncey Billups did not play, and Amare Stoudemire left the game in the first half with back spasms.

The Knicks took a late 93-92 lead on Jared Jeffries’, yes you read that correctly, layup. But on the ensuing possession, Jeffries had to guard Kevin Garnett, who backed him down and made a jump hook with 13 seconds left. With the game on the line, Anthony was double-teamed and fed Jeffries, who tried to lay the ball off to Bill Walker under the hook. Garnett stole the pass and called timeout, but the Knicks were still alive. The next play is the one that Mike D’Antoni has to explain. With four seconds left, the Celtics inbounded the ball to Delonte West in the backcourt, and Anthony seemed unaware that he had to foul West immediately. West was finally fouled with 0.6 seconds left, and he hit his two free throws to seal the win.

It was another excruciating loss for the Knicks, who now have to win four out of five games to advance. Simply put, the Knicks need to beat the Celtics comfortably, because the late-game futility has to be in their heads at this point. The Knicks will return home for Game 3, where a raucous Madison Square Garden crowd will be awaiting them. It’s a must-win, but honestly, it’s tough to see the Knicks coming back from these two incredibly rough losses.

On a personal note, I would be incredibly shocked if the Celtics made any kind of serious run in this postseason. Unless they are simply going through the motions, this team looks old and slow. For three quarters, the Knicks had Anthony and the likes of Toney Douglas, Jeffries, Walker, Roger Mason, Ronny Turiaf and Shawne Williams in the game, with Stoudemire and Billups out. Sans Anthony, that team would struggle to win 10 games in an entire NBA season.

My early prediction, and I thought this would be the case regardless of what the series score was coming back, is that the Knicks will win Game 3. They’ll be fired up, the Garden will be rocking, and they will have the benefit of the whistle. Plenty of time until then, though. The Knicks should be proud of their valiant effort. Anthony put the team on his back, and if they had just a little more talent out there, this series would be all even. For now, the Knicks are again heartbroken.


Final - 4.19.2011 1 2 3 4 Total
New York Knicks 21 24 22 26 93
Boston Celtics 23 21 30 22 96

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