Splash! Ray Allen hits the game-winning shot to send the Celtics to their 1st win in this playoff season. But the game didn't just come down to that play. Plenty of plays led to this exciting ending. Like in any playoff series, heroes will be made and goats will be made as well.
Going into halftime, it seemed like the Knicks had a stranglehold on the game. But as the 2nd half went on, It seemed like the Knicks began to get tighter and tighter. And as the Knicks began to struggle, the Celtics began to find their stride. The Celtics got their offense started from an unlikely source: Jermaine O'Neal. O'Neal had a flashback to his Pacer days as he hit some jumpers and blocked some shots. Ray Allen began to get into it some when he hit a three-pointer and then a driving layup. The lead was getting smaller and smaller as the game headed into the 4th quarter. That's when Amar'e Stoudamire decided it was his time to takeover.
Amar'e started to put the Knicks on his back as he was taking Kevin Garnett at will. The highlight of that stretch was his facial he served to Jermaine O'Neal and Garnett. It looked like the Knicks had stemmed the tide. But then, some things changed the outlook of the game and quite possibly the series.
Throughout the last few minutes, it seemed like Carmelo Anthony did not want to differ to Amar'e. Carmelo took some questionable shots down the stretch that seemed to be out of the rhythm of the offense. At that point, Melo has to know that Amar'e is feeling it and that he needs the ball. Besides a questionable shot by Douglas that went in, the Knicks looked like they were lost down the stretch. And that's when the Celtics looked their best of the game.
The Celtics were down three with under one minute left in the 4th. The Celtics needed some clutch play. At that point, Rondo lobs a pass from out of bounds to KG for a dunk that cuts the lead to one. On the Knicks next possession down the court, a questionable offensive foul is called on Melo that gives the ball back to the Celtics. But, the next part of this game is what I can't understand. The Celtics bring the ball in and they run a screen for Ray Allen. Ray Allen drains the 3 and puts the Celtics up by two. I'm really wondering why you would leave Ray Allen wide-open? He's the best three-point shooter in NBA history. And then to follow that up, the Knicks, who have no timeouts and 15 seconds to play, come down the court and settle for a Carmelo Anthony three to win the game? If I'm the Knicks, I drive the ball to the basket and attempt to tie the game at least.
The last two plays exhibit one thing: the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony aren't true contenders and the Celtics and Ray Allen still have a chance to win the East with their clutch play and veteran leadership. With all the excitement at the end of this game, it will be interesting to see how the Knicks and the Celtics come out next game. Hopefully there will be more offense than there was this game though. I like the excitement down the stretch, but I don't like the extreme droughts that both teams went through.