There was a lot of trash-talk going on since Sunday—mostly from the New York Knicks. J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin said this series was over and went as far as to wear black attire for the “funeral,” but while the Knicks were too busy with the braggadocio, and busy flapping their gums, the Celtics were preparing for Wednesday night’s Game 5.
Maybe the Knicks’ early success in the series came too soon, and too easy, and went straight to their head.
The Knicks allowed the Boston Celtics to get back in the series by letting them take Game 5. The Celtics stunned the Knicks in front of their home crowd at Madison Square Garden, beating them 92-86, and have now cut the Knicks’ lead in the series, 3-2.
Without a much-needed spark on offense from J.R. Smith or Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks collapsed. J.R. Smith, who started the trash talk, was the goat of the game. After serving a one-game suspension, he returned Wednesday night and had a horrendous night. He started off cold, missing his first 10 shots, and finished the game with 14 points on 3-for-14 from the field.
Carmelo Anthony suffered his second-straight poor performance, finishing the night with 22 points on 8-of-24 shooting. Combine that with Smith’s poor shooting, and early foul trouble for Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin, and the results are disastrous.
After getting an 11-0 lead on Boston, the Knicks just fell apart. The Celtics fought hard and went into the half with a 45-39 lead. The Knicks defense was asleep and allowed the Celtics to get back in the game, and it also didn’t help that the Knicks’ bread and butter—their 3-point shot—was almost non-existent tonight. The Knicks shot an awful 5 of 22 from 3-point range.
It was apparent the Celtics wanted this win more than the Knicks did. The Celtics played tough defense, and their offense was finally clicking after a slow start, unlike the Knicks’. The Celtics shot 11 of 22 from beyond the arc, Jason Terry and Paul Pierce combining for nine of those. Terry finished the night with 17 points, Pierce with 16 points, and Kevin Garnett added 16 points with 18 rebounds.
The Knicks failed to close out the series for the second time and will now go to Boston on Friday night to play Game 6, and that won’t be a walk in the park. Smith and Anthony have to snap out of this funk and help this Knicks team advance to the second round of the playoffs. No more talk.
There’s nothing wrong with trash talk, but be ready to back it up. This franchise hasn’t won a playoff series since 2000, so it may be in their best interest to take care of business first, and win something, before talking.