The Knicks strolled into Boston’s TD Garden undermanned and ready to close out the series via a sweep, but ended up coming up just short in a 97-90 overtime defeat.
New York now leads the series, 3-1, but had every intention of coming back home without the Celtics in tow. Paul Pierce and Jeff Green made sure the Celtics would be making a return trip to New York, as they poured in 29 points and 26 points, respectively. Kevin Garnett, who’s been battling a hip pointer all series, also came up big for a desperate Celtics team as he added 13 points and a game-high 17 rebounds.
The Knicks almost pulled off a historic comeback as they stormed back from down 20 points in the third quarter and made it a nip-and-tuck affair in the fourth quarter. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be for the Knicks as they couldn’t get the necessary stops down the stretch — particularly on shots from Jason Terry (nine points in overtime) — or make the key buckets.
It also didn’t help that Carmelo Anthony went ice cold, shooting 10-of-35. He started 0-of-5 from the field in the first quarter and 3-of-15 for the half — the latter stat being the most missed field goals for his career in a playoff game.
Anthony, who still finished with a game-high 36 points, got little help from his supporting cast. The bench was outscored, 22-7. NBA Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith didn’t play after being hit with a one-game suspension after he connected with an elbow on Jason Terry’s face near the end of Game 3.
What we saw ...
1. The Knicks led the league in least amount of turnovers (11.7), and were very prudent in that category in the first three games. No so in Game 4, as they committed 15 turnovers — including 12 in the first half. The Knicks were so cavalier with the ball that they had more giveaways than actual made field goals (11) in the first half.
2. Smith wasn’t seen by Knicks fans as he was serving a one-game suspension for his errant elbow. Smith was sorely missed as the Knicks’ offense was stagnant, shooting 34.4 percent, and their bench was nonexistent. Terry led the way with 18 points off the Celtics’ bench, including nine in overtime.
3. The Knicks couldn’t rebound and pull off the historic comeback win, but they did rebound on the glass nicely by hammering the Celtics, 54-40. Garnett led Boston with 17 rebounds, but got very little help from his teammates — particularly frontline mates Jeff Green (six) and Brandon Bass (four), who also fouled out with four minutes remaining. Iman Shumpert had an impressive 12 rebounds, while Tyson Chandler added 11 boards.
Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.