HOW THE GAME WAS WON: In Game 1, Ray Allen hit a key 3-pointer in the closing moments to clinch it for Boston. In Game 2, it was Kevin Garnett’s plays on both ends of the floor that led the Celtics to a 96-93 win, and a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.
With 13 seconds left and Boston down 93-92, Garnett bullied his way into the paint and hit a tough hook shot over the outstretched arms of Jared Jeffries. Carmelo Anthony took the ball on the ensuing possession and was immediately doubled by Glen “Big Baby” Davis. Anthony found a streaking Jeffries who was met by Garnett, but instead of going up for a layup, Jeffries tried to force a pass that was stolen by Garnett.
Boston took the ball at midcourt and inbounded the ball into the backcourt with four seconds remaining, completely catching the Knicks off guard. Delonte West ran all but 0.6 seconds off the clock, and hit two free throws as the Celtics handed the Knicks another crushing defeat.
WHAT IT MEANS: The Knicks will have their work cut out for them as they head back to New York in a 2-0 hole. The Knicks hung tough with the Celtics despite playing the whole game without Chauncey Billups (knee) and most of the game without Amare Stoudemire (back). That being said, there are no moral victories in the playoffs. The Celtics also seem to be inside the heads of the Knicks, as Boston has won all six games this season between the two teams.
ORANGE WATCH: After a forgettable Game 1, Anthony had a monster game with 42 points and 17 rebounds. The former Syracuse star was virtually unstoppable down the stretch, and his deep 3-pointer with 2:36 left gave the Knicks a three point lead. But unfortunately for Anthony, the play that he will be most remembered for this game will be not following West into the backcourt during the final inbounds play, and allowing West to essentially dribble out the clock.
INJURY REPORT: Stoudemire played only 16 minutes and didn’t return after the first half with back spasms. It was clear that the back was affecting him the whole game, as he had just four points on 2-for-9 shooting. As expected, Billups missed the game with a knee injury suffered in the closing moments of Game 1.
STAR GAZING: Rajon Rondo was a one-man fast break, collecting 30 points, many of them coming on layups in transition. Paul Pierce scored 20 while Ray Allen chipped in 18 points. Toney Douglas picked up the start in place of Billups and scored 14 points, but struggled playing defense on Rondo. The loss spoiled an otherwise great game from Jeffries, who scored 10 points and played well on defense. Jeffries could’ve been the hero, as his layup with 19 seconds left gave the Knicks the 93-92 lead. But that play was quickly forgotten with his turnover on New York’s final possession.
WHAT’S NEXT: Game 3 will be Friday at Madison Square Garden.