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Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 at 9:38 am  |  34 responses

Post Up: Truth Hurts

Knicks fall at the Garden and vintage Kobe.

Boston 113, New York 96

After their Game 2 loss in Boston, the Knicks’ locker room was surprisingly calm and almost confident. While frustrated, there was a sense of “We’re OK, they haven’t done a thing yet. Wait until we get them in the real Garden.”

Any hopes of a Swizzle-infused party were quickly put to bed by Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo who put the first nail in the Knicks coffin in their 113-96 dismantling of New York. Pierce led the charge with 38 points and Sugar Ray was right behind him with 32 points of his own. The two combined to shoot a staggering 25-37 from the field, 14-19 from three and hit about 13 back breaking daggers. And oh yeah, Rajon Rondo messed around and got a triple double with 20 assists. It was a good day for the Celtics.

The Cs took control of this one right from the start, exploding to a 22-5 lead behind 12 points from the Truth. The Knicks, behind a strong showing from their bench (23 first half points,) clawed back into the game. But then the third quarter the Cs smelled blood and went for the jugular, outscoring New York by 15 in the period.

Boston’s performance was undoubtedly helped by a New York defense that returned to form after some relatively competent defensive play over the first two games. What hurt the Knicks even more was the big pile of nothing they got from their big guns. Amar’e, limited by a troublesome back, was limited to 7 points and 3 boards and Melo shot just 4-16 from the field on his way to an uneventful 15 points.

Even if those two were on their game, and the Knicks dusted off Allan Houston and Larry Johnson, Boston still would have controlled this one. The Celtics simply executed at such a high level and never let their foot off the pedal.

At one point after consecutive threes by Mason pulled New York to 14 in the fourth, Boston went on a 10-2 run over the next two minutes behind threes from Allen and Pierce and an acrobatic lay in by Rondo. The plays were both a “nah son” to the Knicks and a message to the other Eastern powers that Boston is still here. — Jonathan Evans/@jre18

Atlanta 88, Orlando 84

Philips Arena buzzed with anticipation as fans donned Playoff tees to form a sea of white. Joe Johnson came out aggressive, scoring 17 of his 21 points in the first half. The Hawks took a 51-42 lead into halftime, shooting 55 percent compared to 39 percent for the Magic. Dwight Howard scored 9 points on 3-6 field goals and 3-5 free throws. The Magic hoisted 14 threes, but made only four, while the Hawks had the same amount of makes on half the attempts.

The Hawks were held to 15 points on 5-20 field goals in the third quarter, but led the Magic 66-62 at the end of three. Neither team could pull away in the fourth and tensions ran high when Zaza Pachulia and Jason Richardson got into a scuffle after Pachulia fouled Howard on the previous play. After the foul, Howard made contact with Pachulia with a follow through motion, earning him a tech. Pachulia and Richardson were ejected with a little over two minutes remaining.

The highlight of the night came from Jamal Crawford, who hit an off balance three-point dagger with 5.7 seconds remaining to put the Hawks up 4. Crawford scored 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter.

Still no rest for Dwight as Howard logged just under 45 minutes. Hawks are up 2-1 and Game 4 is Sunday in Atlanta. — Tracy Weissenberg

Lakers 100, New Orleans 86

Things settle in, regain normal form, reveal the uneven. Size and talent rarely fail when on the right side of a severe imbalance in coaching experience. We know how the rest of this will play out.

Kobe Bryant scored 30 points, channeling his intensity to lead a balanced attack that featured renewed aggression from Pau Gasol. The annual psychologizing of Gasol is far from done. While it remains one of the more boring debates of the postseason, we see again how terrifying the frontline of this era’s Lakers can be when given the ball and banging glass.

In yet another microcosmic outing, Andrew Bynum showed why he’s never been traded: powerful moves and a knee scare. Still, these are the Lakers that can beat OKC, Miami or the newly donut-shaped Celtics. Vintage Kobe and 4-6 All-Star quality bigs.

The Hornets refuse to get outworked. Yet the brief flight of Aaron Gray-as-unlikely-hero has come to ground. Carl Landry did his best, but the absence of David West’s ability to pull defenders out of the paint and be automatic from 15 feet shows against a good defense like L.A.’s. Pressuring Chris Paul works when he doesn’t have his go-to goes and the bench goes cold again (9-34 in the last two games).

Who knows? Maybe L.A. decides to take it easy and cough up Game 4. But it looks to me like Kobe and Phil looked at what’s going on in Chicago and Miami and OKC and realized that they better start laying out the good shit now and get momentum. Certainly they have the wheels to ride. — Toney Blare

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  • ripslam

    Sooo…where are the doubts about the Celtics now?

  • buzzkut

    Gotta love bitter Knicks fans proclaiming Boston’s second-round demise.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    @buzz: Bitter Knicks fans? Sounds like you’re the bitter one if you ask me. Bottom line the C’s just are the better team right now. I don’t care if Phil Jackson or Doc Rivers were the Knicks coach right now, when you lose two (Amar’e and Chauncey) of your big 3, you’re in trouble in the real season against the defending eastern conference champs. Especially when you don’t have depth to begin with. Still, I’d love to see the Knicks STEP UP on Easter, and avoid getting swept at the WMFA. Go Knicks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    Great game by the Lakers. Kobe looked 25 on that dunk last night, and recorded the 80th 30-point playoff game of his career. I find it hilarious Pau didn’t start making an impact until he made that three-pointer.

  • Fat Lever

    Is there a correlation of Amar’e tying his season high for MPG and his back spasms? He’s not exactly a young gunner anymore.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    That picture of Kobe and Gasol… lol

  • neaorin

    All I wanna say… the Heat better have a sound gameplan for Rondo. Mr. Dwyane Wade better step up to the challenge.

  • tuxo

    that crawford’s three is clutch. wow

  • JTaylor21

    Orangutan, you do know that Amare played last night, right? I could see why you thought he didn’t because melo yellow wouldn’t pass him the ball. What the hell is Amare doing taking only 8 shots, he might as well had sat next to Billups in a suit if his other star teammate was going to ignore him like that. Melo for all his clutch ability has only made it past the first round once, which goes to show you just how overrated and over-saturated the word clutch has become.

  • Logan

    vintage Kobe is right….

  • Clydesays

    Great game by the C’s in a riled up MSG. Doc had them focused and ready. I literally thought D’Antoni’s head was going to explode after seeing his reaction to the Knicks defensive lapses. NY would definitely would be more competitive with a healthy Billups and Amare, but they won’t see that until next season…

  • Fat Lever

    And I find it hilarious that Knicks fans are complaining about depth. Your team traded away any depth you had, so to complain about it is useless.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    @jtaylor21: Even for you, that’s pretty ignorant. And FYI, I’m going to be here posting and toasting throughout the playoffs. We’ll find out who the “real” fans are during the real season.

  • http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/aching_stoudemire_unable_to_muscle_LzcP0fFrWiezpn2RMikJ5L IAMORANGE4EVER

    “The last few days, every step hurt, every step I took I felt in my back,” said Stoudemire, who played nearly 33 minutes. “I’ve never had a strained muscle in my back and didn’t know what quite to expect. It took me a while to get used to the feeling. I had a hard time putting my socks and shoes on. I had a hard time sitting.”
    “I was very ginger, didn’t really want to draw any contact,” Stoudemire said. “The quick moves weren’t quite there. It bothered my elevation a lot, and also my jump shot, and also driving to the basket. Driving to the basket, knowing I was going to create contact, made it difficult to finish those plays.” Stoudemire said, “There’s no way I will be 100 percent by Sunday” when the Knicks face a must-win in.

  • JTaylor21

    sensitive much?

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    @jtaylor21: Sensitive over this? No, however, if I was your father I might be sensitive to the fact my son is making an arse out of himself on SLAM.

  • http://Philosophervision@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    As soon as Rondo found out that Billups was out, he turned back into himself.
    And, if Rondo plays like he did last night, the Celtics have a better chance at winning the Title. He has to play like he did last night, though.

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    That Zaza, J-Rich & Dwight altercation was suhweet!
    Dwight snuck in a nice forearm to Pachulia’s head while flailing, Zaza takes offense and starts lamenting and Richardson gets right into his grill.
    Gotta lurve playoff animosity.
    I thought JJ got paid eff-you-i’maendthis-money? Way to disappear in the 4th, man.
    Hawks sure are a strange squad, before Jamal forgot to call glass, he bricked so many jumpers in the 4th, Josh Smith kept chucking 3′s (he’s back to doing that? Wow.)

  • Michael

    vintage Kobe would be him scoring 50. Last night was run of the mill average Kobe.

  • JTaylor21

    Oh, good one. Looks like someone is mad at me over his favorite team’s shortcomings. Don’t be mad at me, be mad at Melo for not passing to Amare, be mad at the defense for giving Ray Ray and PP wide open 3s, be mad at the defense for not forcing Rondo into become a scorer and be mad at the entire team for not showing up for the first playoff game in 8yrs at MSG.
    Willis Reed is not walking through that door, Walt Frazier is not walking through that door, hell I’m damn sure PEwing is not walking through that door.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    I think it’s safe to say the Knicks will get swept

  • Niyagirlfresh

    @Micheal yeah but with people constantly talking about how he’s getting old and can’t score anymore which is pure boloney the way he dunked, blocked shots and hit 3 pointers is what ignited the vintage Kobe statement which is right. It’s like when NBA.com a couple of years ago had multiple threads about him being done, memebers were highfiving one another in their posts happy and cheering then he goes and drop 61 in the garden they were nowhere to be found, he likes proving people wrong and I like seeing him do it. He can still get 50 with his eyes closed on any given night but he doesn’t have to, his minutes are down and he has 3 other players that can score the ball at will as well.

  • http://Slamonline.com Sergio

    I agree with Niyagirlfresh, Kobe is taking it slow. He’s still thinking of game 7, and how everybody said that he has never dominated a playoff series. He will make sure there are no doubts this time around.

  • http://www.offthebackboard.blogspot.com karma

    people who say Kobe hasn’t dominated a playoff series are stupid. Seriously, if you actually believe that, then you’re a moron. Even last year’s Finals was dominated by Kobe (check his numbers for the series), he just faltered in Game 7.

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    Couple of laker fans getting defensive and hyperbolic over not very much. This is new.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    *shakes fist violently*
    CRAWFOOOOOOOORD!

  • feez22

    Bye Knicks. If you don’t fire d’antoni it will be “bye knicks” every postseason no matter what kind of “talent” you acquire in the future. The lakers did what they had to do. The chris paul of the regular season reared it’s ugly head again… the one that would dominate first halfs and go passive and nonchalant in the second halfs… Today’s games should be great. The pacers are winning so far… 3 quarter team. I expect the bulls to win.

  • http://nicekicks.com meloman2.0

    I am not mad at all. The celtics are clearly the better team. If they go on to win the series i am rooting for them to get back to the promise land

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Man, I h@te when guards refuse to pass to their big men. The Hornets really don’t have ANY guards that can shoot right now other than Chris Paul. They seriously HAVE TO feed Carl Landry and Emeka Okafur every possession right now.
    Also, I’ll say it again–you guys underrated Landry like crazy. He’s the only offensive solution for the Hornets right now, especially since Paul refuses to shoot.

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    I am so happy i didn’t watch the Mavs fail to close out Portland last night. Would probably have needed a new TV after that mess.
    Thanks time difference.

  • Riggs

    kobe has never dominated a playoff series.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Mars

    bitter like sugar

  • http://kb24.com Bigi

    @Riggs, don’t go there…

  • KB8TOSG8

    I miss my remote……. Dallas sucks. Can’t believe Dirk is stuck there…..

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