Boston Celtics (3-0) at New York Knicks (0-3)
Sunday, April 24
3:30 PM ET
Playoff Game #1 Road Game #2
Radio: WEEI, ESPNR
Madison Square Garden
Referees: Mike Callahan, Derrick Collins, Ken Mauer The Celtics face yet another closeout game in the playoffs. In the Big Three era, the Celtics are 8-11 in games where they have the opportunity to close out the series. More disturbingly, they are just 1-9 on the road in these games.
In two different series their failure to close the series has come back to bite them. In 2009, they failed to close out the series vs Orlando in game 6 and the Magic came into the Garden and won the series in game 7. Last season, they had 2 chances to close out the Lakers in both games 5 and 6 but failed to do so and lost Perk to the knee injury in game 6 and lost the title in game 7.
There is a silver lining to these stats and that is the fact that the Celtics are now up 3-0 in the series and in 84 tries, no team has ever come back from being down 3-0 to win a 7 game series. Three teams, however, have come back to tie the series at 3-3 before losing in a game 7. The Celtics need to take care of business in this game and not allow the Knicks to get healthy and gain confidence. It would be great if the Celtics would take care of business in this game and we wouldn't have to worry about any of that.
The Celtics have already ruled Shaq out for this game, and wisely so. Amar'e said that his back was worse after playing in game 3 and if it was still sore he wouldn't play in this game. I'm expecting Shawne Williams to get the start in his place. Chauncey hasn't ruled out playing but said it was very doubtful. Both are listed as questionable. With the Celtics a year older and the competition stiff, the Celtics need to try to win in as few games as possible so a sweep here would be nice.
The Celtics should expect the Knicks to come out and play with desperation. Their pride is on the line in front of their home crowd and we probably won't see another dispirited attempt on their part in this one. The Celtics were clicking on all cylinders except one in game 3, and that was the bench play. If the bench can finally get it together and have a break out game, the Celtics should win this one regardless of the Knicks' effort.