After playing sluggish and sloppy basketball in Boston until they needed it most, the Boston Celtics came up with a rousing performance in their 113-96 dismantling of the New York Knicks. Contrarily, after a gutsy performance in Game Two, the New York Knicks were lifeless in their return to Madison Square Garden. No surprise then that the Celtics romped in a coast-to-coast victory.
Here are the particulars:

What The Celtics Did Right

The Celtics made it a point of emphasis to get more motion in their offense, often running a set called “floppy action.” This often resulted in a pin down for Ray Allen on one side of the floor, followed by a pin down for Pierce on the other side as opposed to the bevy of screen/rolls and isolations ran in Boston.
Partially as a result of these precise pindowns, Allen was simply remarkable when given a sliver of daylight—8-11 3FG, 32 PTS, continuing his torrid shooting in the series.
Pierce’s successes mostly came in transition, broken plays, and because the Knicks switched nearly every screen involving him, on screen/rolls. And successful Pierce was—14-19 FG, 6-8 3FG, 38 PTS, though 13 of those points did come in a fourth quarter of extended garbage time.
After getting his head served on a platter by
Carmelo Anthony in Game Two, Pierce was better able to crowd ‘Melo in Game Three rendering him largely ineffective.
Though
Kevin Garnett was only a marginal scoring threat, and while he had several porous defensive possessions against the Knicks’ second unit, Garnett dominated the Knicks’ starting frontcourt on the glass, and set sturdy screens which freed up Allen and Pierce.
Garnett and Jermaine O’Neal provided excellent interior rotations.
Rajon Rondo hit a few jumpers, completed some tricky layups, and helped out on the glass, but mostly he just stayed at the top of the key, hit the correct open teammate in stride, and watched his assist total rise for a prodigious 20 dimes en route to a triple-double.
Jeff Green played his most assertive game of the series, with several smart cuts and tough layups to his ledger.
Nenad Kristic made a couple of excellent close outs.

When the Knicks showed hard to take away Allen’s curls to the three-point line, the Celtics screen-setters would alertly cut and find themselves open at the basket.

The Celtics simply played much, much harder than the Knicks.
The Celtics screens were effective.
The Celtics offense executed at will, and their defensive rotations were precise. Though they had some great individual performances, their win wasn’t a matter of bludgeoning the Knicks with great individual plays, but dissecting the Knicks with the power of perfect execution.
What The Knicks Did Wrong

Try as he might, Amar’e Stoudemire was limited by his back and tragically turned in a mute performance—2-8 FG, 3 REB, 7 PTS.
Give Amar’e credit for trying to push aside his pain and perform, but after an ineffective first half, and after a last ditch effort to remove his back brace didn’t improve matters, Stoudemire should’ve sat out the majority of the second half. There’s no shame in being too injured to play, but there’s no benefit in being too unhealthy to be effective.
Without Amar’e opening up a second offensive front, the Knicks needed another explosion from Anthony to remain competitive. Unfortunately for the Knicks, after his brilliant Game Two, ‘Melo turned in a bogus Game Three—4-16 FG, 15 PTS.
With the Celtics interior help defense much more precise than in Game Two, and with Pierce much more effective at crowding and challenging ‘Melo’s perimeter shots, Anthony was forced to jack up contested jumpers with the hope they’d go in. He did an adequate job of moving the ball—6 AST, 5 TO, and was again active on the glass—11 REB, but his jumper stayed in Boston.
Much worse than his stalled offense was his putrid defense. Anthony had some success in Boston when isolated by Pierce and on several help defensive scenarios—and continued this trend early in the game by getting back in transition and making several on-point defensive rotations.
However, Anthony was too timid to fight through any screens, switching whenever one was presented him. This allowed Pierce to be matched up with smaller Knicks guards which he either pulverized on drives or shot over with limited defensive pressure.
Also, Anthony’s inability to fight through pindowns allowed the Celtics bigs to post Anthony. The Knicks would immediately double, the secondary rotations would be AWOL, and the Celtics would end up with wide open perimeter jumpers.
Anthony failed to be alert and tag Celtics three-point shooters in transition, failed to communicate switches, and was an outright defensive liability.
That’s one superstar performance and two disasters unbecoming of a superstar for the series scorebook.
Landry Fields looks overwhelmed by the magnitude of the playoffs. Not only is he not making shots, but he’s been airballing jumpers and bobbling passes all series.
Fields also was given a rude lesson in defending screens. Perpetually beaten by Allen’s initial cuts and subtle pushes, Fields was constantly trailing Allen’s screens. Without coordinated shows by the Knicks bigs, the Knicks weren’t able to provide any pressure on Allen’s threes.
Toney Douglas made wrong decisions for most of the night, and was likewise burned by Allen when defending him.
Ronnie Turiaf provided nothing on the glass—0 REB.
Bill Walker threw away an awful entry pass and misplayed several screens into open shots.
Mike D’Antoni didn’t make any adjustments to his Anthony auto-switch defense, and by the time he decided to blitz Allen’s screen/rolls, it was midway through the third quarter and the backside rotations were absent. D’Antoni’s players appeared completely befuddled and overwhelmed by Boston’s offensive execution, and suffered almost systemic defensive breakdowns that have plagued the Knicks down the stretch of the first two games in Boston, and in Game Three. In other words,
Doc Rivers badly out-coached D’Antoni.
Of course it wasn’t all bad. New York’s secondary players had some nice performances.
Jared Jeffries was his usual busy self on defense and the offensive glass, and even posted Garnett for a layup.
While Walker made some mistakes, his effort was strong and he made plays on both sides of the ball, creating jumpers for himself on offense, and making several successful contests on defense.
Shawne Williams spaced the floor with his range shooting, and provided the only good shows on Allen curls all night.
But aside from small token victories here and there, Game Three was a massacre—some parts of which can be excused (the injuries), and much which cannot (the effort, the breakdowns, the lack of adjustments).
Expect the Celtics habit of stepping off the gas pedal when comfortable to rear itself in Game Three, and expect an embarrassed, angry Knicks team to come out with focus and precision in a Game Four win.
But for all intents and purposes, this series is over.


Celtics-Knicks Game Three: Celtics’ Execution Dissects Knicks’ Heart
Erick Blasco
Sat, 23 Apr 2011 07:05:13 GMT

reposted by Kaspakapaz

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