Everything looked right for the New York Knicks to sweep their series against the Boston Celtics and prepare themselves for a matchup with the Indiana Pacers. But after the J.R. Smith ejection in Game 3 and his subsequent suspension, things go incredibly tough for the Knicks at the TD Garden and they found themselves in a 20 point hole at one point in their Game 4 showdown against the Boston Celtics.
But something happened at halftime, and the Knicks came out of the half firing on all cylinders. They kicked, clawed and shot their way out of that deficit and eventually tied the game in the fourth quarter.
At that point, the game went from a game where the Knicks were looking to easily sweep, to a game with the type of intensity felt in an Conference Finals Game 7 matchup. For the Celtics, the game was technically a Game 7, as another loss would send them packing and potentially end the Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers era in the franchise’s history.
But being in an 0-3 hole brought out the beast within the Celtics and they stomped all over the Knicks in the first half, leaping out to a 54-35 lead at halftime. However, the postseason has a knack for brining out the best in the little guy, and much like Nate Robinson’s lightning strike performance in the Bulls-Nets game on Saturday, the Knicks comeback wasn’t sparked by Carmelo Anthony or Tyson Chandler. Rather, Raymond Felton came out of nowhere to lead the Knicks back into the game and eventually to overtime with the Celtics.
Felton finished regulation with 25 points and got New York’s first points of the overtime period. From the middle of the fourth quarter when the game was tied through overtime, the contest was a back-and-forth slugfest that saw both Boston and New York bloody and abuse one another in crunch time. Carmelo Anthony missed some crucial free throws late in the game, but the Celtics defensive collapse allowed those two measly free throws to end up being epic scoring chances.
Speaking of collapses and free throws, Melo set a new Knicks record for free throw attempts in a playoff game, as he went to the stripe 20 times during Game 4.
But Boston was rejuvenated in the extra period, and were able to thwart a second comeback by the Knicks and successfully extended the series to a fifth game. New York had opportunities to win the game in overtime, but Boston just didn’t want to lose and they never took their foot off the pedal. Jason Terry was huge for Boston on Sunday, specifically in overtime where he had nine of the Celtics final 13 points in overtime to boost them over New York.
Boston still has a pretty big hole to dig themselves out of but they may have shifted the momentum with their amazing Game 4 win in overtime. THings are going back to New York but the momentum seems to be on the other side of the court.