Back to TD Garden for an emotional Game 3 against the New York Knicks, the Boston Celtics had their backs firmly planted against the wall on Friday night.
Eviscerated by New York in the second halves of the first two games—36-25 in Game 1 and 45-23 in Game 2—the Celtics looked like a team on the verge of breaking down. If they were a classic car, Boston's second-half performances looked more like a broken-down Ford Pinto than a '67 Mustang only in need of some playoff retuning.
Matters only got worse with news of Kevin Garnett's injury in Game 2. Already dealing with bone spurs in his foot, Garnett suffered what head coach Doc Rivers equated to a hip pointer in Tuesday's 87-71 loss at Madison Square Garden (h/t ESPN's Chris Forsberg).
Though he was expected to grit it out, Garnett's injury was indicative of the Celtics' playoff standing. They are to be respected, but perhaps they're well beyond the place of being feared—especially with Carmelo Anthony's continued outpouring of 30-plus-point efforts.
That being said, if there was ever a place for the Celtics of yesteryear to come out, it was in Game 3. TD Garden promised to be rocking in support of its team and city, and the Celtics have always been a team that thrived on big-time moments.
Could they pull out another vintage performance and bring the series to a manageable 2-1 deficit? Or will Boston be facing the possibility of a sweep in front of the home crowd on Sunday?
Let's take a look at the highlights from Friday night's action and find out.