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Boston Celtics vs. NY Knicks: Game 2 Preview, Schedule and Predictions

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20:  Jason Kidd #5 of the New York Knicks fouls Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics during Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs on April 20, 2013 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The New York Knicks defeated the Boston Celtics 85-78. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistApril 21, 2013

The New York Knicks and Boston Celtics tip off Game 2 on Tuesday night, as the Celtics look to avoid dropping the first two games of the postseason.

Game 1 saw the Celtics come out firing, controlling the pace of the first half and running out to a 53-49 lead.

New York's defense woke up, Boston found it more difficult to get to the rim and the Knicks absolutely suffocated them in the final two quarters. Boston was able to put up just 17 points in the third quarter, following that up with a stellar eight-point fourth quarter. 

The Knicks didn't blow them away offensively, but they did enough down the stretch to end up with an 85-78 win.

 

Time: Tuesday, April 23rd, 8:00 P.M. EST

TV: TNT

Records: New York (1-0), Boston (0-1)

Betting Line: New York -6.5

 

Key Story Line: New York's Defense

Coming into the series, it seemed like a clear-cut matchup between the Boston Celtics' defense against the New York Knicks' offense.

The Celtics may not be the same old Celtics that did what they could to grind their way to a championship back in 2008, but they're definitely still a defensive team first and an offensive team when jump shots are falling.

In their first game, it was New York's defense that dominated, and Boston's offense that flat-out didn't exist.

After a halftime adjustment, the Knicks realized that Boston was making absolutely no three-pointers, so they settled into the post and dared Boston to make jumpers.

With Tyson Chandler ineffective and still looking like his bulging back was bothering him, Kenyon Martin took control of the defense and the cutting lanes were closed.

If the Celtics can't hit jumpers, they're going to have the same defense to deal with. They better hope for something more than 5-of-20 from the three-point line next time around.

 

Key Matchup: Carmelo Anthony vs. Jeff Green

They're two completely different, yet obviously similar players, each relied upon heavily by their teams to put more than a few shots in the bucket.

While they may not directly guard each other (Anthony dealt with a lot of Brandon Bass, while Green was faced up by Iman Shumpert quite a bit), their impact from all points on the floor is going to have a direct effect on this game.

Both were leading scorers in Game 2, Anthony scoring 36 points on 13-of-29 shooting, and Green with 26 points on 8-of-15 shooting.

What went wrong for the Celtics in Game 1 was Green's disappearance in the second half. 20 of his 26 points came in the first half, and once the Celtics' driving lanes were shut off, he settled on driving and kicking, completely stopping his shooting.

Meanwhile, Anthony is what Anthony will be in every single game. He's going to shoot a lot, and sometimes he'll score a lot.

The Knicks are obviously a better team when Anthony is efficient, but in this series where both defenses seem locked in, it might be enough for him to just go out and score a bunch.

 

X-Factors: Kenyon Martin

Normally I would point to J.R. Smith first, second, third and fourth as the main X-factor for the New York Knicks, but with the defenses showing that this series is going to be a long slog through the mud, Kenyon Martin is definitely the guy to take a look at.

Martin was key in Game 1 for the Knicks, fortifying their defense in the post, using his constantly active hands to create turnovers and playing defense by keeping the Knicks on offense.

Martin picked up nine rebounds for the Knicks, which is an extremely impressive number for just 28 minutes on the floor. However, when you realize that he had five offensive rebounds as a part of those nine, his value is even more apparent.

When you've got a guy earning that many more additional possessions, there's going to be some hidden value in his stat line

 

X-Factor: Avery Bradley

The Boston Celtics don't have a scorer that can come off the bench and put up 20 points. Well, they should, but Jason Terry has been so inconsistent but giving him that much credit would be short-sighted.

Because of that, we've got to look at Avery Bradley as the team's X-factor.

Capable of bouncing around and guarding point guards, shooting guards and smaller small forwards, Bradley is also a guy who can score a sneaky 20 points if he's shooting well.

Bradley is going to have to alternately cover Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith at times, so his importance cannot be overstated.

 

Prediction

Losing to the Knicks for a second game in a row and going down 0-2 in this first-round series would be nothing short of a disaster for the Celtics.

Splitting the first two games on the road had to be high on Boston's list of priorities coming into the postseason, and another loss could mean a hole too deep to climb out of.

Look for the Celtics to come out with a much more vicious defensive effort in an attempt to slow the game down and put the onus on New York to be more efficient.

We've seen the Celtics succeed in a situation where they have to make jumpers to win; it's just that they need to force their opponents to do the same.

That being said, slowing down Carmelo Anthony could be easier said than done, especially in another slow-paced affair.

New York Knicks 88, Boston Celtics 83

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