Celtics 87, Knicks 85
What went wrong …
1 Amar’e can’t do it alone
As expected, Amar’e Stoudemire had no trouble finding the bottom of the basket. Stoudemire finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds, with multiple highlight-reel moves over Kevin Garnett, who went just 5 of 14 from the field. It was Carmelo Anthony’s subpar performance, though, that was more surprising. Anthony finished with just 15 points on 5-of-18 shooting, including some big misses down the stretch — and a terrible offensive foul in the closing seconds that kept the Celtics alive. He sat for a considerable amount of time in the first half after picking up two early fouls. Bill Walker did a commendable job filling in but that certainly isn’t something the Knicks should count on.
2 Old legs refreshed
The Knicks caught a break having Shaquille O’Neal sit out Game 1, but that didn’t stop another O’Neal from doing damage. Jermaine O’Neal wasn’t much of a factor in the first half, but came in during the third quarter and sparked a Celtics comeback. He scored six straight points and blocked two Anthony shots as Boston crawled back from a 12-point halftime deficit.
3 Ray Ray too clutch
Once Delonte West tied it up at 64 with 9:40 remaining, it was back and forth for the remainder. The Knicks couldn’t close the door and Anthony’s turnover led to one last Boston possession. Ray Allen snuck out to the perimeter and drilled the go-ahead 3 with 11 ticks left to give Boston a Game 1 victory.