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Jeff Green has been outstanding defensively this season.
Yup, even if the New York Knicks have a huge offensive explosion at home, the Boston Celtics will take the series against them.
To be honest, this match-up looks surprisingly good on paper for the Celtics, even if they are a big underdog. The Knicks are one of the most hit-or-miss teams in the league. When their threes are falling, J. R. Smith's getting to the rim and Carmelo Anthony's got his inside-outside game going, they're a juggernaut.
If only two or one of those things are happening, they're very beatable. And the Celts can absolutely take that stuff away.
Boston ranks fourth in the league at defending the three-point line, holding opponents to just 34 percent shooting from downtown (per NBA.com). They also have Avery Bradley to help nullify J.R. Smith, who tends to shift into stepback jumper-mode when he's faced with a true perimeter stopper.
Carmelo is a problem, of course. Jeff Green's been fantastic on defense this season, but when 'Melo's spitting fire, there's nothing you can do but cross your fingers and hope that it ends. And he has had some monster games against them in the past.
However, he's been kept under wraps so far this season (he's shot over 40 percent against them just once), and you have to imagine that the Celts can slow him down in the playoffs, too.
New York won the regular season series 3-1, but the playoffs are a whole different ballgame. Boston has a penchant for stepping up its game big-time in the postseason and going on runs that it shouldn't.
As long as the defense holds up, they should be able to muster enough points against the Knicks' 18th-ranked defense (per Basketball-Reference) to punch their ticket to the next round.