NBA Fast Break: Celtics Stay Alive, Force Game 6

So the Knicks looked at another closeout game, this time with J.R. Smith available, at home against a Celtics squad supposedly running on fumes. Surely New York had it in the bag – especially after Boston’s slow start. Yet sports have a funny way of yielding unexpected plot twists and, Wednesday night, Madison Square Garden set the scene for Boston’s spoiling effort.

The game played out with the slow, methodical pace Doc’s gang preferred. Brandon Bass set the tone with some early breakaways and tough shots. Kevin Garnett’s 18 boards made the Celtics usually suspect work on the glass a non-issue. Jason Terry held a three party nearly on his own as he and Jeff Green enjoyed strong back-to-back outings.

What’s most important about Boston’s win was they avoided their usual, “How we gon’ score now, coach?” herp derp. They’ve had similar looks throughout the series but, until last night, they haven’t converted them at such a consistent clip. Credit Doc and his staff for keeping the Celtics focused, slowing down the tempo and limiting transition baskets for this win. Then again you have to wonder if his staff cracked the code to Boston’s gameplan or if the switch from Bengay to Icy-Hot helped them shoot and defend with maximum pain relief.

Meanwhile, the Knicks’ struggle offense wrought with long possessions yielded a double digit hole. Then one last push got negated via KG’s foul line-extended dagger. Carmelo had another hell game thanks to Doc giving Boston’s defense different looks to frustrate him. J.R. couldn’t find the range until late. It’s too early to play the panic card but, with two elimination games lost, you have to wonder what adjustments Mike Woodson will make to right the ship on Game 6.