Game 1: Where Carmelo Lost the Game

The Boston Celtics stole Game One from the New York Knicks tonight at the TD Garden, 87-85.  The Celtics trailed the Knicks for most of the game but Ray Allen drilled a three with five seconds remaining to give the Celtics the series lead.  I have long preached death, taxes, and Ray Allen are the only certainties in life but the Celtics won this game because of Carmelo Anthony.

In the final five minutes of the game, Amare Stoudimire was unstoppable.  He was hitting jump shots, driving to the basket with authority, and the Celtics had no answers for him.  As the game wound down, Carmelo Anthony took it upon himself to try to win the game and ignore the hot hand of Amare.  The Celtics gladly let Melo try to win the game and he failed miserably culminating on an offensive foul where he shoved Paul Pierce in efforts of creating space.  From 2:15 on the Celtics took control of the game.  Melo hoisted a two threes in the final two minutes and was called for the offensive foul.  Amare didn’t touch the ball not because of the Celtics defense, but because of Melo’s selfishness.

Jermaine O’Neal was phenomenal tonight.  There really is not other word for it.  He was the energy the Celtics needed blocking shots and hitting his own shots.  Celtics fans were worried about not having Shaq, but Jermaine isn’t so bad himself.  He has the wingspan to block and change shots.  He is also willing to take charges.  Tonight Jermaine O’Neal reminded Boston that he was once a pretty good player himself.  It is a good thing because the Celtics will need him this post season.

It wasn’t until the middle of the third quarter that Rajon Rondo showed up.  For most of the game he looked slow and didn’t have the usual bounce in his step that we have been accustomed to seeing.  I was honestly concerned thinking the plantar fascia or his hamstrings were acting up.  But then he turned it on and started rebounding and creating opportunities.  With Billups now looking like he is hurt, the Knicks won’t have a true point guard.  Rondo should be able to take advantage going forward.

How about Ray Allen? Yes, he hit the game winning shot that sent all of New England into a frenzy.  But watching the game I was more pleased with him getting down low and mixing it up in the paint.  Every time I looked up Ray Allen was the one rebounding and starting the break.  The Celtics have struggled with rebounding all season long and can use all the help they can get.  Ray is an unlikely source of rebound production but he did have 6 tonight.  He was also very efficient with his offense, 9-15 from the field, 3-5 from downtown, and 24 points.

Game Two is Tuesday night.  Hopefully someone finds a muzzle for Glen Davis in the mean time.

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