There is only so much that the aging veteran stars of the Boston Celtics can do to help their team compete against the New York Knicks. Although now only shells of themselves, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are forced to carry their squad in this first round series.
Despite his game-high six turnovers, Pierce managed 21 points to go along with his seven assists and five rebounds in Boston’s Game 1 loss to New York. KG provided much help defensively, but only tallied eight points on 4 of 12 shooting on the offensive end.
With Rajon Rondo out for the playoffs, the burden quite clearly falls on the two aforementioned veterans along with Jeff Green. Expecting Pierce and Garnett to carry the load, playing upwards of 40 minutes a game at their advanced age is tough in itself. Couple that with a completely devoid bench game, and therein lies a recipe for a struggling squad with no chance to win a playoff series, much less against the Knicks.
Without any sort of contribution from their bench, the Celtics have no shot of upsetting the Knicks in the first round of the playoffs. The Celtics bench went without a field goal as they shot 0 for 7, scoring a whopping four points.
Perhaps Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and Jordon Crawford had been more focused on deferring to their teammates and setting them up for relatively easier looks and baskets? Nope. These three players tallied a grand total of zero assists in their combined 51 minutes of play.
Unless the Celtics’ bench play improves, Boston gives themselves very little chance in this series. They will need something, anything, to aid the veterans out in the front line carrying the squad. Without it, they’re looking at a very short first-round exit out of this year’s playoffs.