Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Melo, Knicks Have Chance for Knockout Blow in Game 3
GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The Knicks will face an emotional crowd and a desperate team in Game 3 in Boston on Friday night, but if they come away with the win they will push the Celtics to the brink of elimination.
Fourteen NBA teams have come back from an 0-2 deficit but none has ever overcome an 0-3 hole.
“We have a great opportunity ahead of us to go in there and try to get up 3-0,” said Carmelo Anthony, who is averaging 35 points per game in the series. “That’s our goal. We’re going there trying to win the basketball game. If we can do that, we’ll be OK.”
“If we win [Friday], then we’re going to try to win Game 4,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “That’s how we look at it and it starts tomorrow night.”
The Knicks went 23-18 on the road this season. In the last month alone, they have won at Miami, Oklahoma City and Boston. Overall, they have won 18 of their last 20 games.
But with the Celtics set to host their first playoff game since the Boston Marathon bombings, the Knicks will need to continue to play well away from Madison Square Garden to get where they want to go.
“If anybody knows struggle and tragedy, it’s the city of New York so we understand very well what they’re going through,” Knicks center Tyson Chandler said. “And like I said, we expect them to play with pride for their city. They’ve been doing it. These games haven’t been easy, so I expect the same thing in Boston.”
As for his health situation, Chandler hasn’t been himself since coming back from a bulging disk in his neck in Game 1. He is averaging just 1.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in 21 minutes in the series after averaging 10.4 points and 10.7 boards in the regular season.
He said he’s still “a little sore,” but maintained it is simply a matter of stamina.
“I feel like I’ll be even better in Game 3 to start sprinting the floor and start creating some second-chance opportunities and things like that,” Chandler said
Said Woodson: “Tyson is a major piece of this puzzle and the fact that he was off and he’s lost a little weight, we’re trying to get his strength back up. When that happens, [his minutes] will grow. He made some major steps the other night I thought, and he’ll continue to get better. I’m not really concerned about Tyson.”
Two years ago, before Chandler joined the Knicks, the Celtics swept the Knicks in Anthony’s first year with the team. Now the roles are reversed and the Knicks would be in position to do the same with a Game 3 win.
“I mean, if that happens, I will be super-duper happy, excited about that,” Anthony said. “I can’t lie, but I know that’s going to be tough.”
If the Knicks can at least get a split out of the two games in Boston, they could close the series out Wednesday at the Garden, where they are 33-10 including the playoffs this year.
Winning in four or five games would also allow the injured players like Chandler, Kenyon Martin (ankle) Pablo Prigioni (ankle) and Amar’e Stoudemire (knee) the chance to rest up for a potential second-round series with Indiana.
“It would be fantastic if that can happen because now it helps Amar’e still in his stage of progression and he could possibly get back,” Woodson said. “So it gives some of our guys that are banged like Kenyon and Pablo an opportunity to rest.
“But again, we gotta get to that stage first.”
DOC RIVERS FINED
Celtics coach Doc Rivers was fined $25,000 for saying the officiating in Game 2 was “horrendous.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.