It’s been nearly 13 years since the New York Knicks won a playoff series, and Wednesday night they have a second chance to end that painful streak at home.
Up 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, the Knicks face the Boston Celtics in Game Five at Madison Square Garden seeking their first playoff series victory since 2000, when they reached the Eastern Conference finals.
Carmelo Anthony has averaged 33 points per game in the series and played a key role in the Knicks winning the first three games. In Game Four, Anthony turned the ball over seven times and shot 28 percent from the field in Sunday’s 97-90 overtime loss in Boston.
Already having a terrific series, point guard Raymond Felton stepped up on the offensive end with Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith suspended for elbowing Boston's Jason Terry in Game Three. Felton tallied 27 points, going 4-for-9 from three-point range, and helped New York erase a 19-point first-half deficit.
Despite losing their hold on the lead, Boston avoided the sweep behind a late surge from Terry and the always timely scoring of Paul Pierce, who notched 29 points, eight rebounds, and six assists.
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Terry scored the Celtics last nine points of the game, on his way to 18 points off the bench, and forward Jeff Green pumped in 26 points with six rebounds.
Kevin Garnett inked a double-double of 13 points and 17 rebounds, along with six assists, and the Celtics defense kept New York in check at 34 percent shooting overall. Garnett has channeled his prime performance years in the last three games, ratcheting up 12.3 points and 15 rebounds.
The return of Smith for Game 5 should change New York’s approach and overall demeanor. The 27-year-old enjoyed the best season of his career, averaging 18.1 points and 5.3 rebounds.
The game tips-off at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast by TNT or you can watch their free live online stream at TNT Overtime here.
Betting Odds: New York is favored by 9 points.
Over/Under: 181 points
Prediction: Smith completes the Knicks offense, and gives Boston another 3-point threat to worry about. Terry will have to repeat his performance from Game 4 for Boston to have a chance in the series. Pierce and Anthony will continue to battle for top scoring honors, but Felton will be the one to close out the series for New York.
Predicted Score: New York 98, Boston 87