NBA Playoffs: Despite Celtics Going Up 2-0 Over Knicks, Ray Allen Believes ‘our best is still out there’April 20, 2011 – 11:15 am by Michael Bean
Close doesn’t cut it in sports. Certainly not in the playoffs. But nevertheless, the New York Knicks and their fans have to feel at least slightly positive about how they’ve competed in the first two games of their opening round playoff series against the battle tested Boston Celtics. On Tuesday night, the Celtics narrowly edged the Knicks to take a 2-0 series lead despite Carmelo Anthony exploding for 42 points and 17 rebounds in a losing effort. The Knicks were without A’mare Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups for Game 2, but that didn’t much matter for the Knicks. Anthony was on fire, connecting on 14-of-30 from the floor, 4-of-8 from downtown, and 10-of-11 from the charity stripe. It still wasn’t enough, as the Celtics staved off a fourth quarter comeback attempt to win, 96.93. Ray Allen, the hero in Game 1, dropped 18 in Game 2 thanks to 4-of-4 shooting from behind the arc, while Rajon Rondo led the way for Boston with a 30-point, seven assist performance.
Allen joined WEEI postgame to talk about the Celtics defense winning Game 2 despite Carmelo Anthony’s offensive fireworks, needing to do a better job of limiting the offensive rebound opportunities for New York, being locked in offensively early on in the series, the steady and aggressive play of Rajon Rondo in the first two games, the Knicks feeling like they can still make a series of it based on how they’ve competed in the two close losses, and how hard it is to slow down Carmelo once he gets it rolling offensively.
On the Celtics winning Game 2 with solid defense despite seeing Carmelo Anthony explode offensively:
“Well that’s one that you definitely want to take away from him because he played such a tremendous basketball game with his other two comrades going down, you know, the guys that he’s relied on the second part of the season. He was at the point there where everything he put up he was going to make. He didn’t have to pass. I imagine his coach told him you’ve got to take over the ship, and you have to take it home. And he did that — he made the passes and the plays. We’ve just got to do a better job of locating him and getting the ball out of his hands.”
On the high number of offensive rebounds they allowed New York to grab:
“Yeah. You’ve got your mindset so locked in on keeping him from getting an easy shot. You know Jeff’s (Green) in foul trouble, we’re trying to keep Paul from getting in foul trouble. You know, Turiaf is roaming and Jeffries is roaming, so it leaves us small on the weak side. I personally have to do a better job of keeping Turiaf off the glass and then being able to get out to the three-point shooter weak side.”
On why he’s so locked in shooting the first two games:
“I’m always locked in shooting. It doesn’t change.”
How Rajon Rondo has looked comfortable and aggressive so far this series:
“Well there’s no indecision. When you watch him play these first two games, specifically tonight, he’s attacking and not waiting to see what their defense is doing. And that’s causing problems for them because you have to decide what you’re going to do, what you’re going to give up. And I think that’s similar to what Carmelo did — he attacked us north to south and he put our defense on its heels. And then when you have great players outside of that, then other guys can make plays as well.”
On the Knicks feeling like they can still make a series out of this based on how they’ve played in the first two games:
“Yeah but I still think and believe wholeheartedly that we haven’t played our best basketball in these first two games. We’ve shown glimpses, we’ve gone up…we went up 10, 11 point in this game tonight, and we still didn’t give the knockout punch. We’re still like trying to get over the hump. So I look forward to the games we play in the future because I feel our best is still out there.”
On how hard it is to slow down Anthony once he gets locked in offensively:
“Yeah, and once he gets locked in, the refs get locked in as well. So every time he drives, you got to really be there in advance. He’s going fast, and he’s going hard and strong at the same time. So he can shoot the three-ball, he’s got a great mid-range game, and he can get to the hole. So we have to load up, and we’ve got to make sure that they’ve got three-point shooters that, you know, when he’s taking shots, our guys are out of position so we’ve got to get back and cracking bodies so we can take them off the glass.”