Looking to rebound from a disappointing opening game, the Boston Celtics carry a 48-42 lead into halftime over the New York Knicks in Game 2 of their first-round series. With a possible 2-0 deficit looming, the Celtics have come up with a much stronger effort Tuesday night in MSG.
Paul Pierce and Jeff Green continue to lead the way for Boston, combining for 18 points on 8 of 15 shooting. Pierce has also dished four assists to power the Celtics' offense, which battled through fits and starts to score just 78 points against New York in Game 1.
Finishing the first quarter with a J.R. Smith buzzer-beater, the Knicks took a 26-20 lead into the second quarter, but the Celtics dominated the remainder of the half. Getting solid efforts from their reserves after a tough opening game, the Celtics turned the next 12 minutes into a 28-16 run.
Before the game, Jonathan Tjarks broke down some key questions that could shape who wins or loses. Let's take a quick look at how those issues have shaken out so far.
1. Will Carmelo play "hero ball"?
Anthony was somewhat aggressive in the first half, scoring 15 points while dishing just one assist. He struggled to really get his jumper going, shooting 3 of 11 from the field, but knocked down 8 of 9 attempts from the free throw line to bolster his numbers.
Much of his scoring came when attacking the basket, either off a pass or in isolation. After knocking down 4 of 6 shots from beyond the arc in Game 1, he was just 1 of 3 in the first 24 minutes Tuesday.
Coming off the bench on the same night he was award Sixth Man of the Year, Smith was the real hero for New York in the first half. Tying Anthony with 13 points, Smith was not only productive but efficient in doing so, hitting 5 of 9 shot attempts from the field.
2. Will the Celtics' bench show up?
Game 1 was a bit of a debacle for the Celtics' bench, but that hasn't been the case in Game 2. Jason Terry in particular has been huge for the team, coming up with a bit of a vintage performance in draining 3 of 5 attempts from beyond the arc en route to nine points. Between him and Jordan Crawford, Boston's reserves have contributed 14 points already Tuesday, easily eclipsing the four points they scored in the opening game of the series.
3. What will Tyson Chandler bring to the table?
Not much, generally speaking. He's managed to play 13 minutes, but like in Game 1, he's mostly been a shell of his healthy self. The numbers bear out his inability to make a significant impact on the game, as he failed to record any statistics other than four rebounds. His performance on offense -- 0 for 3 from the field with one turnover -- has essentially left New York playing four-on-five when he's on the court. His defensive presence against Kevin Garnett is really the only thing keeping him out there at this point.