The New York Knicks try to take a 2-0 lead over the Boston Celtics Tuesday night when the two teams continue the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs at Madison Square Garden.
Carmelo Anthony led the way for the Knicks Saturday in their 85-78 victory. He scored a game-high 36 points, but defense was the key for New York. The Knicks held the Celtics to just eight points in the fourth quarter and 25 in the second half.
"We protected our home court and got our first win. Game Two is going to be even tougher and harder," said Anthony. "We have to keep that mentality. We have to have a 48-minute mentality."
J.R. Smith was next for the Knicks with 15 points. The performance came just two days before he won this season's NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award.
"I can't really put this into words. It's been a long time coming," Smith said at his press conference. "It's more about the team. It's all about my teammates."
Raymond Felton and Kenyon Martin both scored in double figures in Game 1.
Defense is what gave the Knicks a 1-0 series lead.
New York allowed 53 points in the first half, but put the clamps down over the final 24 minutes. In the fourth, Boston made three baskets, committed eight turnovers and shot 27 percent.
"We made some adjustments," said Knicks coach Mike Woodson. "I thought our pick-and-roll coverage was pretty good in the second half. It was a total team effort in terms of how we covered up for one another where there were breakdowns in the second half."
One of the biggest defensive adjustments the Knicks made in Game 1 had to do with Jeff Green. The Boston forward torched the Knicks for 20 first-half points, but was held to six over the final two quarters. Green also committed four turnovers himself in the fourth quarter.
"They started to be more aggressive when I caught the ball, they were coming with double teams," said Green. "I didn't get out in transition like I did in the first half."
Paul Pierce added 21 for the Celtics and Avery Bradley chipped in 15. Kevin Garnett contributed eight points and Brandon Bass and Courtney Lee each had four. The Boston bench only tallied four points on the afternoon, which all came from Lee.
"Our bench has to give us something," admitted Boston head coach Doc Rivers.
The Celtics also need to take care of the basketball. They committed 21 turnovers, which led to 20 Knicks points.
The Celtics bested the New York Knicks in four games in the first round of the 2011 Playoffs.
Game 3 is scheduled for Friday night in Boston.