NEW YORK – The Celtics extended their season Sunday with an overtime win over the Knicks. Wednesday night, they'll look to steal Game 5 on the road and put a serious scare into the Knicks.
We've reached the point in the series where off days are as absurd as they are informative. Knicks guard J.R. Smith and Celtics guard Jason Terry have cranked up the trash talk Tuesday, with Smith claiming he didn't know who Terry was. This follows Knicks forward Kenyon Martin telling reporters Terry was "running his mouth" during Game 4, prompting Martin to instruct the Knicks to wear black Wednesday night as if preparing for a funeral.
It's all a lot of nonsense, though the talk – and Smith's flagrant elbow in Game 3 – seemed to fire up Terry. Neither team has strung together four consecutive quarters of solid play. The Knicks need to shoot better Wednesday night than they did in Game 4. The Celtics need to do a better job of passing out of traps, and they need to get out on the break as often as they can. They need to find a way to get Kevin Garnett the ball.
The Celtics have not lost a first-round playoff series since 2005. They're in danger of doing that Wednesday night.
Here are the details for Game 5:
Tipoff: 7 p.m.
Series: New York leads the best-of-seven series, 3-1
Broadcast info:Television: CSNE, TNT; Radio: WEEI (93.7 FM)
Celtics: PG: Avery Bradley SG: Paul Pierce SF: Jeff Green PF: Brandon Bass C: Kevin Garnett
Knicks: PG: Raymond Felton SG: Pablo Prigioni SF: Iman Shumpert PF: Carmelo Anthony C: Tyson Chandler
Bass on Anthony: Brandon Bass did as good a defensive job as you can do on a player who scored 36 points Sunday. Bass limited Carmelo Anthony to 10-of-35 shooting.
"He's tall," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said of Bass. "It's difficult to shoot over length."
Rivers likes Bass on Anthony, so look for the matchup again. Also look for Anthony to try to get Bass in the air on pump fakes and draw fouls. Anthony got himself to the line 20 times in Game 4.
Turnovers: Paul Pierce has five or more turnovers in each of the first four games of the series. Avery Bradley has more turnovers (nine) than assists (seven). If the Celtics can take care of the ball they have a shot. If not, the game could get out of hand.
Role players: Someone besides the usual suspects is going to step up Wednesday night. Iman Shumpert showed brilliant flashes for the Knicks in Game 4. Terry shined for the Celtics. Jason Kidd has been tremendous at times. Who will it be in Game 5?