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Inside the Numbers: How the Celtics swept the Knicks

Hello World!

The Boston Celtics completed there impressive four-game sweep of the New York Knicks with a 101-89 victory from Madison Square Garden Sunday afternoon, so as they sit back and patiently wait for their next opponent in these 2011 NBA Playoffs we thought it’d be nice to take a deeper look inside the numbers to break down just how in fact this veteran group was able to sweep right by New York in just four games.

The obvious answer may be in New York’s unfortunate hand of injuries to starters Chauncey Billups (knee) and Amare Stoudemire (back) which left the team extremely vulnerable at two of the most important positions in NBA Basketball today.

Chauncey went down in an exciting Game 1 of the series due to a left knee strain with just 51 seconds remaining in the affair.

The Knicks would go on to lose that contest 87-85 on a late three by veteran and big-shot taker Ray Allen with just 12 seconds left in regulation.

Amare started experiencing back problems in Game 2, ultimately, limiting him significantly from being the dominant force he had been in Game 1.

The Mighty Boston Celtics

Rajon Rondo (center) led the Celtics charge past the Knicks averaging 19.0 points, 12.0 assists and 7.3 rebounds in four games.

However with all that being said, in the end the Celtics simply outplayed their Eastern Conference counterparts in many key areas of the game throughout the series.

To start Boston outrebounded New York in all but one game of the series, averaging 44.3 boards to the Knicks’ 40.5 rebounds per game. There dominance of the painted area was manifested in a multitude of ways however.

To that point, the Celtics, led by the tremendous play of Rajon Rondo (19.0 pts, 12.0 asts, 7.3 reb and 1.0 stls per game in the series), were able to get to the basket in transition and in the halfcourt at ease which opened up easy looks for the sharp-shooting Ray Allen and the equally deadly Paul Pierce.

Rondo’s ability to penetrate and get into the heart of the Knicks’ defense contributed to the Celtics averaging 24 assists to New York’s 16.8 per game in the series.

It also allowed the Celtics to almost double the Knicks in transition points scoring an average of 12.3 points per game on the break to New York’s 6.8 fastbreak point-production.

Ultimately, Doc Rivers‘ veteran bunch shot 47.7% from the field in the four games to the Knick’s 38.9% clip.

Getting back to Allen for just a moment.

In four games against the Knicks the artist formerly known as “Jesus Shuttlesworth” averaged 22 points and 1.5 steals on 57% shooting from the floor and 65.4% from three – much of that production possible due to Rondo’s tenacious attack of the rim.

The 35-year old Allen, knocked down an incredible 17 three-point shots in the four games. His most impressive effort coming in the Celtics 113-96 Game 3 victory from Madison Square Garden where he connected on 8-of-11 from deep scoring 32 points in the win.

Allen wound up going 17-of-26 from long range in Round one.

As a unit the Celtics shot 43.8% from three to New York’s 35.5% shooting from deep in the series.

And basically that’s how the Celtics swept the Knicks in Round 1 of the 2011 NBA Playoffs.

They were more aggressive at the point of attack and stretched the Knick defense out by consistently knocking down open shots. Contrary to their regular season woes, the C’s also out-rebounded their opposition in all, but one game.

If there were an unsung hero for the Celtics in their opening round series victory, that honor may be owed to 14-year vet Jermaine O’Neal.

O’Neal’s closing numbers don’t show his true impact on the series with 5.5 pts, 4.0 reb, and 2.5 blks per game, however when he was in the game his presence defensively was significant.

Surprisingly O’Neal’s ability to block and change shots at the rim and still get out to move his feet laterally guarding pick and rolls is an underestimated quality the 6-11, 255-pound center possesses.

Subsequently, that defensive ability came up huge for the C’s in the first round as Boston was able to hold Shaq out a little while longer with the other O’Neal filling the void at center by playing solid Basketball in just 23 minutes of action per night.

The Celtics may have made quick work of the Knicks, however they will have quite a challenge on their hands next round regardless of which team they face.

Both the Heat and Sixers possess rosters full of athletic perimeter-oriented players that are vastly different from the Knicks’ backcourt representatives.

Regardless of the matchup, those mighty Boston Celtics appear to be clicking at the right time and that’s not good news for any team in either conference.

Below is a detailed look back at each game’s top performers along with pertinent team stats for Games 1 – 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Knicks.

(3) Celtics vs.
(6) Knicks

Game 1 Eastern Conference Round 1: Celtics 8785
TD Garden Boston, MA
Sunday April 17, 2011
(Boston leads series 1-0)

Ray Allen (Bos): 24 pts, 6 reb, 1 ast, 9-15 FG, 3-3 FT, 3-5 3PT
Amare Stoudemire (Nyk): 28 pts, 11 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl, 2 blk, 4 TO, 12-18 FG, 4-6 FT

Team Rebs O Rbs Ast Free Throws FG% 3pt% *PIP *Fast *TOs
Celtics 44 15 20 12-18 (67%) 43.8% 5-13 (39%) 34 10 16
Knicks 34 13 16 11-16 (69%) 42.3% 8-23 (35%) 32 2 14

Game 2 – Eastern Conference Round 1: Celtics 9693
TD Garden Boston, MA
Tuesday April 19, 2011
(Boston leads series 2-0)

Rajon Rondo (Bos): 30 pts, 4 reb, 7 ast, 2 stl, 4 TOs, 13-23 FG, 4-7 FT
Carmelo Anthony (Nyk): 42 pts, 17 reb, 6 ast, 2 blk, 14-30 FG, 10-11 FT, 4-8 3PT

Team Rebs O Rbs Ast Free Throws FG% 3pt% *PIP *Fast *TOs
Celtics 37 9 21 12-16 (75%) 47.0% 6-11 (55%) 40 16 10
Knicks 53 20 14 21-27 (78%) 35.6% 8-25 (32%) 34 4 12

Game 3 – Eastern Conference Round 1: Celtics 113-96
Madison Square Garden New York City, NY
Friday April 22, 2011
(Boston leads series 3-0)

Rajon Rondo (Bos): 15 pts, 11 reb, 20 ast, 2 stl, 4 TOs, 5-13 FG, 5-6 FT
Carmelo Anthony (Nyk): 15 pts, 11 reb, 6 ast, 1 blk, 2 stl, 1 blk, 5 TOs, 4-16 FG, 6-8 FT, 1-3 3PT

Team Rebs O Rbs Ast Free Throws FG% 3pt% *PIP *Fast *TOs
Celtics 43 13 31 15-17 (88%) 50.6% 14-24 (58%) 24 11 20
Knicks 33 12 18 21-28 (75%) 43.4% 9-20 (45%) 30 6 18

Game 4 Eastern Conference Round 1: Celtics 101 – 89
Madison Square Garden New York City, NY
Sunday April 24, 2011
(Boston wins series 4-0)

Kevin Garnett (Bos): 26 pts, 10 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 2 blk, 10-16 FG, 6-6 FT
Carmelo Anthony (Nyk)
: 32 pts, 9 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl, 10-24 FG, 10-11 FT, 2-7 3PT

Team Rebs O Rbs Ast Free Throws FG% 3pt% *PIP *Fast *TOs
Celtics 53 9 24 18-24 (75%) 49.4% 3-12 (25%) 38 12 15
Knicks 42 13 19 21-28 (75%) 34.1% 8-27 (30%) 34 15 14

*PIP = Points in the Paint
*Fast = Fastbreak Points
*TOs = Turnovers

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