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NBA Playoffs: Knicks just can’t close

’Melo’s magical night overshadowed by crunch-time gaffes as Knicks fall behind 2-0 in first-round series.

Knicks 93, Celtics 96

What went wrong ...

1 One-man show
— Put this one in the history books of all-time greatest Knicks performances. Following his dismal Game 1, Carmelo Anthony bounced back in ways nobody could have imagined. His 42 points, 17 rebounds, and six assists kept the Knicks in the game while Amar’e Stoudemire missed the second half with back spasms and Chauncey Billups didn’t even suit up. But even that wasn’t enough. The loss is even more heartbreaking than the first one considering the Knicks outrebounded Boston 53-37 and held a lead with 19 seconds left.

After Kevin Garnett schooled Jared Jeffries to put the Celtics up 94-93 with 13 seconds left, Carmelo dished to Jeffries on the ensuing possession. The forward looked to pass and Garnett got his hands on the ball then called a timeout with four ticks left. Even more depressing, Anthony waited more than three seconds to foul on the inbound pass and Delonte West knocked down free throws to seal the win. Down 0-2 in the series, it’s pretty obvious that the Knicks have to win the next two at home to have any chance.

2 Amar’e leaves early — The Knicks took a huge blow when Stoudemire left the game in the second quarter. He finished with just four points, but the Knicks really missed him defensively, as KG dominated in the paint in crunch time.

3 Run, baby, run
— Anthony may have scored a game-high, but Rajon Rondo was the best player on the court. The point guard scored a career playoff-high 30 points and made it clear Boston was going to push the tempo from the get-go. The Celtics scored 16 points in the paint and 12 fast break points in the opening frame. Rondo set the pace with 14 points, all coming from the fast break or the free-throw line. If the Knicks are going to have a prayer in the series, they’ll need to get back in transition.

 
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