Celtics sweep Knicks out of the playoffs

A look at Boston’s 101-89 win over New York to sweep the Knicks out of the playoffs:

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: The Knicks, who trailed 70-48 in the third quarter, clawed back into the game after Anthony Carter hit a 22-foot jumper to pull New York to within 84-80 with 7:35 left. After that, the Celtics scored on three straight possessions, capped by a Ray Allen 3-pointer that gave the Celtics a 91-83 lead. The Knicks would get no closer than six points after that.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Knicks were swept out of the playoffs much like they were in 2004. That being said, the Knicks made things interesting despite not having Chauncey Billups (knee) for a third straight game, and Amare Stoudemire at less than 100 percent with a strained back. The Celtics will play the winner of the Philadelphia-Miami series.

ORANGE WATCH: Carmelo Anthony scored 32 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 43 minutes of play. The former Syracuse star had a pair of run out dunks in the third quarter that started New York’s run.

STAR GAZING: Anthony Carter nearly saved the Knicks’ season. Carter came off the bench to give the Knicks 23 key minutes and had two rebounds and two assists to Anthony that started the whole run. Carter’s entry into the game also shifted the Knicks’ defensive philosophy. For much of the game (and the series), the strategy was to back off Rajon Rondo and give him a wide open jumpers. The problem was, Rondo was hitting those jumpers and had plenty of time to find his teammates. When Carter was inserted into the game in the third quarter, the veteran challenged Rondo on the perimeter, and caused several turnovers with his hustle. He was also the Knicks best player on the offensive end during the fourth quarter, and finished with 11 points and five rebounds. Rondo had 21 points and 12 assists while Kevin Garnett led the way with 26 points and 10 rebounds.

WHAT’S NEXT: Despite the loss, the Knicks have a lot of positives to look back on this season. They made the playoffs for the first time since 2004 and had a winning record (42-40) for the first time since 2001. With Stoudemire and Anthony in the fold, the Knicks have a chance to be contenders in the near future.

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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