Game Three is as close to a “must-win” situation as the Boston Celtics have been in all season long.
Boston went winless in the first two games of their first-round series with the New York Knicks and looks to avoid falling into a 3-0 hole on Friday night.
The Celtics will host their first home game at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. Viewers can watch a free live stream online at espn3.com.
In Games One and Two, the Celtics were dominated in the second half. They scored just 48 total points in both second halves, setting a record for futility in the playoffs.
The absence of Rajon Rondo has especially hurt the club. Without a true point guard, Boston has been unable to facilitate the offense and get Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnet open looks at the basket. Avery Bradley has started at point guard in Rondo’s place but usually performs better when he’s in the backcourt with Rondo.
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The Knicks point guard, on the other hand, has been a major reason why New York is up 2-0. With Garnett often on the bench with foul trouble, Felton has been able to get into the paint and score at will.
If the Celtics want to avoid being on the verge of getting swept, they’ll also have to stop Carmelo Anthony. The scoring champ has scored at least 34 points in both games and hit big shots in the fourth quarter.
In the regular season, the Celtics went 27-13 at TD Garden, but the Knicks didn’t have any trouble in their trips to Boston. New York won both of their matchups when playing on the road against their Atlantic Division rivals.
The casinos in Las Vegas are expecting Boston to make the series interesting. The Celtics are 2.5-point favorites at home.
Prediction: The Celtics offense has looked terrible for most of the first two games, and Antony and J.R. Smith have been hot from the field. Unless something drastically changes on Friday, the Knicks will take a 3-0 series lead.
Predicted Score: New York 94, Boston 88