The Boston Celtics took a lot of positive things away from their Game 1 loss to the New York Knicks on Saturday afternoon, but as the second half of that contest showed — the negatives outweighed those positives.
The Celtics mustered just eight points, while also turning the ball over eight times in the fourth quarter of a back and forth contest at Madison Square Garden. Veteran power forward Kevin Garnett did not appear to be himself and was limited by foul trouble, especially late in the contest. One intriguing stat to take away from Saturday’s Game 1 contest however, was the simple fact head coach Doc Rivers played no other big men aside from Garnett and fellow forward Brandon Bass.
Why? Well for starters, the Celtics don’t really have any depth at the forward position and Rivers likely assumed Boston would be more effective with guard-like lineups. For the most part on Saturday afternoon, he was right. The Celtics looked like a team who was poised to go on the road in New York and steal a victory in Game 1, but their late struggles prevented that. Credit the Knicks however, who made defense a top priority in Game 1, especially late in the ball game.
Heading into Game 2 however, Rivers needs to do a better job of managing his lineups and rotations. There is nothing wrong with the four guard lineup, but the Celtics should make more of an effort to establish some sort of forward rotation on Tuesday night. That means put the spotlight on Chris Wilcox.
Okay, so Wilcox is not your game-changer or sixth man of the year, but he could still be that spark that Boston lacked, especially in the second half. Wilcox averaged 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds per game this season, he’s not going to shock the world in Game 2, but he should at least enter the game and get some minutes.
Let’s see if Rivers makes this adjustment in Game 2. The Knicks have the front court advantage, there’s no doubt about that, but Wilcox can certainly hang with the likes of Marcus Camby, Chris Copeland and Kenyon Martin in certain situations.
Tip-off between the Knicks and Cetlics is scheduled for 8:00pm (EST) on Tuesday night.
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