The Boston Celtics know they have to win Game 3 if they hope to keep their chances of advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals alive. At the half, the Celtics trail by a score of 47-31.
Similar to the first two games of the series, Boston has been unable to get anything going on the offensive end. They're shooting just 35 percent from the floor after hitting just 39 percent of their shots in Games 1 and 2. Paul Pierce has nearly been invisible, and Jason Terry's shooting struggles continued as he hit just one shot in the first half.
The veteran-laden Celtics just haven't had the horses to keep up with the Knicks, and they'll begin the second half on the ropes. New York has a chance to deliver a knockout blow on the road tonight.
Here are the answers to three key questions Steve von Horn had about the first half of Game 3.
Can Garnett step up for Boston?
KG has made an impact on both ends with eight points and 10 rebounds despite New York trying to get physical with him around the rim. Kenyon Martin has done a nice job bodying Garnett up, and the veteran forward has been baited into a couple of poor decisions because of it. Garnett has done his job for the most part, but there's been very little help elsewhere.
Will Carmelo Anthony continue carrying New York?
Carmelo, who's averaging 35 points a game in this series, has just 12 at the break, but he really started to heat up towards the end of the half. He's been efficient so far, going 6-for-13 from the field. With Boston struggling to make shots, the Knicks haven't really needed Anthony to take over on the offensive end.
Secondary punch power
The Celtics have really struggled to score consistently in this series, and that continued to be the case on Friday night. They've received just five points from their bench, led by three points from Jordan Crawford. Unless Boston can find some kind of a spark from someone other than Pierce, Garnett or Green, it's tough to imagine them hanging around much longer.
On the other side of the floor, J.R. Smith is continuing to have a great series. He's scored nine points, hitting a couple of three-pointers from deep. The aforementioned Kenyon Martin has done a nice job on defense, and Jason Kidd did a nice job bringing down four rebounds and dishing out three assists. New York's bench has been miles better than Boston, and the current score reflects it.
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