Game two of the Celtics/Knicks first round series was a strange game with multiple plot lines as Carmelo Anthony put on a show with 42 points, 17 rebounds and 6 assists. Rajon Rondo surprisingly did his best to match the output with 30 points and 7 assists, but the clear player of the game was Kevin Garnett.
There has been some talk on Hoops Diary over the last few days about what makes a player soft or clutch. KG was oft criticized over the first decade of his career for not playing up to the moment and failing to carry his team to glory, but he has turned around that trend since he’s been in Boston (having better teammates sure does help doesn’t it) and today was no exception. Garnett was, as always, the emotional vocal and participatory leader on a strong defence, but it was his late post up over defensive specialist Jared Jeffries which iced the game. He didn’t look hesitant, bumped his way to the middle of the floor and released a picture perfect hook that never looked like missing.
It has to be said that Boston have looked anything but cohesive or imposing since the deadline deal that sent their heart and soul, Kendrick Perkins, to the OKC Thunder, but this veteran team has to be putting a fright into the rest of the Eastern Conference with their play over the first two games. Both were close games, but they have required superhuman efforts from Melo and Amaré, and the Celtics have looked much more comfortable playing their own style of Basketball. A style which they hadn’t shown in nearly two months and for those hoping for a competitive Playoffs, is a welcome return.
Game three is in New York, but both Chauncey Billups and Amaré Stoudemire are questionable, so we might well be off to a quick start on round 2, the Heat versus the Celtics.