Blog Entry

Series Reset: Knicks cope without Billups

Posted on: April 19, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: April 19, 2011 2:22 pm
We reset the Knicks-Celtics series with Game 2 on tap for Tuesday night. Is New York in trouble without Chauncey Billups? Posted by Ben Golliver.

The Narrative:

A breathtaking Game 1 came down to a pair of potential game-winning threes : Celtics guard Ray Allen made his, Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony didn't. The result was disappointing for Knicks fans, but the level of effort wasn't. Amar'e Stoudemire got his numbers, the bench showed up and a more efficient night from Anthony would have meant a Game 1 win. For Boston, point guard Rajon Rondo didn't shoot particularly well but he did put together a near triple-double, which is a good sign for the Celtics, as they are only going as far as Rondo pilots them.

The Hook:

One huge Game 1 sticking point that shakes things up for Game 2: the availability of Knicks point guard Chauncey Billups, who went down with a knee injury late and isn't expected to play on Tuesday. Knicks guard Toney Douglas, a second-year player out of Florida State, is expected to start in Billups' place, and will have his hands full checking Rondo. The numbers on Douglas do offer some hope. The Knicks play better when he's on the court than when he's off, although that's generally come against second-unit players. He's also upped his production during the nine games he started this season (he averaged 13.9 points and 5.7 assists as a starter, compared to 10.6 points and 3.0 assists overall). The issue, as Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni pointed out to , is how many minutes Douglas will be required to play. It could be a lot. The next guy on the depth chart is aging vet Anthony Carter, who shot 1-4 in 14 minutes during Game 1. In case you were wondering, Douglas averaged 7.5 points and 3.3 assists against the Celtics during the regular season.

The Adjustment:

carmelo-shot-chart One look at Carmelo Anthony's shot chart to the right tells you everything you need to know about what New York hopes to do differently on Tuesday. The breakdown: 5-18 from the field, 2-8 on three-pointers, 4-15 overall on jumpers, just three shots in the paint and a paltry four free throw attempts.

Anthony, one of the league's premier all-around scorers, simply must do better. Attacking Boston's solid interior defense isn't an easy proposition but there really is no alternative. Unless Anthony is able to get to the free throw line, New York will be hoping and praying that its bench shows up big for the second night in a row, a possibility made more difficult by Douglas's move to the starting lineup. 

The X-Factor:

Brilliantly laid out in video form at Posting and Toasting, Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal had a monster Game 1 defensively, blocking four shots and contesting countless others, while looking very agile in Boston's halfcourt defense. On top of all that, he made all six of his shot attempts in 23 minutes. That's the definition of quality minutes from the man tabbed to pick up the slack in Shaquille O'Neal's absence. Can he repeat, or at least approximate, that performance in Game 2?

The Sticking Point:

While all five Boston starters scored in double figures during Game 1, the bench was pretty bad. Delonte West, Nenad Krstic, Jeff Green and Glen Davis combined to shoot 4-15, scoring just eight points and grabbing eight rebounds in a combined 59 minutes. Boston doesn't need all of those guys to step up; really, they'd probably settle for just one. Asking Jeff Green to be that guy feels like a stretch these days, so let's tab Glen "Big Baby" Davis, who started some trash talking  prior to Game 1. Davis has to do a better job than his 1-8 night, since he's being asked to give big minutes behind O'Neal. He's too talented to lay an egg like that twice in a row.

Since: Oct 29, 2010
Posted on: April 19, 2011 8:45 pm

Series Reset: Knicks cope without Billups

The Knicks picked up Carmello to be a game changer and he certainly was that in game one. Not the way they had hoped for though, and without a strong contribution from Anthony they have no chance against a team that is very good defensively. Amare can't go alone and since they traded their next two best players, the loss of Billups is huge. Anthony must step up.

Since: Mar 6, 2011
Posted on: April 19, 2011 4:49 pm

Series Reset: Knicks cope without Billups

Sporting history is replete with examples of TEAMS who step up when a key player is injured. There is a very good chance that the Knicks can step up tonight. I never thought they could win the series, (I had it going 6 games), and still don't but I see them rallying round this and forcing a game 7. Of course what do I know there is a reason that they play the games you know.

Since: Mar 4, 2011
Posted on: April 19, 2011 4:48 pm

Series Reset: Knicks cope without Billups

The Knicks are in trouble with or without Billups.  End of...

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: April 19, 2011 4:37 pm

Series Reset: Knicks cope without Billups

I'm a Knicks fan and while I never wish anyone injury(not even lebum),  I think the Knicks will be BETTER w/o him.  Be scared boston.

Since: Mar 15, 2010
Posted on: April 19, 2011 4:24 pm

Series Reset: Knicks cope without Billups

Wah, wah, wah. That's about all I hear these days!

Since: Oct 10, 2006
Posted on: April 19, 2011 4:21 pm

Series Reset: Knicks cope without Billups

Hahahaha a Laker troll complaining about KG. Go worry about your team, which by the way LOST the other day due to a soft Gas-a-hole!

Since: Feb 14, 2009
Posted on: April 19, 2011 4:00 pm

Series Reset: Knicks cope without Billups

As long as Garnett can get away with that illegal screen at the top of the key, Ray Allen will be open all day. Jesus Shuttlesworth to the rescue!

Since: Nov 10, 2006
Posted on: April 19, 2011 3:26 pm

Series Reset: Knicks cope without Billups

In response to the guy below....that's easy to say Boston will do this and this better.....Carmelo had a horrible game, 1-14 in the second half I believe?  Do you really think that's gonna happen again? If Carmelo has a good game, they need  A LOT more from their bench than what they got.

Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: April 19, 2011 2:50 pm

Series Reset: Knicks cope without Billups

It seems both the Knicks and Celtics had off nights for game one of this series. Both should register better games tonight, but I think the odds are better for the Celtics with their experience, talent, and being at home. The Chauncy Billups injury is also huge and is another significant advantage for Boston this evening. I expected the Celtics to quite easily handle the Knicks in this series, and we could well see that domination begin tonight. Jermaine O'Neal posted a surprisingly strong performance in game 1, If the other 4 starters just post their typical numbers, and the bench shows up, it could well be a very long night for the Knicks.

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