The Boston Celtics lost to the New York Knicks on Tuesday night by a score of 87-71, putting them down 2-0 in the first round series of the NBA Playoffs. After putting up a tough fight in game one and taking a lead into halftime in game two, the Celtics have to be disappointed with their showing over their first two games of the postseason.
If they are looking for areas of improvement, they might first look to get a more consistent performance from Jeff Green, who has been relatively cold and ineffective so far in the series. They could also use some more production off of their bench. Most importantly, though, the Celtics simply need to play worlds better in the second half against New York.
Through the first two games of the series, Boston has been an absolute train-wreck in the second half. As a team they have averaged just 24 points per game on 22.2 percent shooting from the field and just 10.5 percent from three. Moreover, they have turned the ball over 8.5 times per game in the second half so far in the series.
Their defense has been decent in the second half thus far in the series, allowing just 40.5 points per game and holding the Knicks to 40.5 percent shooting from the field and 22.2 percent shooting from deep, but that hasn’t been nearly enough to off-set how poorly they’ve played offensively in the last 24 minutes of the game.
To put it even more in perspective how bad Boston has been offensively in the second half, their best player in the last 24 minutes of these two games has been Paul Pierce. However, he’s averaging just 9.5 points per game and is shooting only 35.3 percent. That’s not exactly promising production from your best player in a half.
Part of their struggles has been due to the defense of the Knicks. In the second half of both games New York has made adjustments and upped the defensive pressure they’ve put on. However, some of the blame lies in how poorly the Celtics have executed their offense. Their offense has become disjointed and ineffective in the second half and it’s shown
As the series heads to Boston, head coach Doc Rivers has to do a better job of adjusting his team’s offense to the increased pressure of the Knicks and the Celtics have to do a better job of executing and keeping under control. If they are unable to do so, a series that many people thought could potentially go seven games might end up being a sweep.