How many players have worn a Knicks uniform in Mike D'Antoni's three seasons as head coach? Sixty-three. For that reason and more, D'Antoni deserves another go-around. Chris Sheridan »Hot Button »Series »
After the starters scored 44 points in Game 3 -- the lowest amount in a playoff game in 12 years -- Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire alone combined for 51 points. Give a lot of credit to Stoudemire for reaching a double-double at 75 percent health (19 points, 12 rebounds). But after Melo and STAT, only Anthony Carter, who led a run in the fourth quarter, finished in double figures (11 points). Not to mention, the Knicks shot a paltry 34.1 percent for the game.
OK, so the Knicks limited Ray Allen -- finally -- from 3-point land (2-of-6) and caused Paul Pierce to struggle like he did in Game 1 (5-of-18 from the field). But outside of the Knicks' five blocks in the first quarter, when they trailed only 29-23, they let the Celtics do whatever they wanted to do on the court. Rondo dominated again -- 21 points, 12 assists -- and this time Kevin Garnett looked like the league's best power forward, tallying 26 points and 10 rebounds.
There wasn't much going on from the bench in the first half. It was mostly The Melo Show, as he scored 19 points through the first two quarters. But when Mike D'Antoni replaced Landry Fields with Bill Walker and Ronny Turiaf with Shawne Williams after the break, the bench sparked the team to a run in the third quarter and early in the fourth. After being down 55-38 at halftime, the Knicks trailed only 84-80 with 7:33 left in the final period, thanks to the second unit's hot shooting.
First off, D'Antoni had his guys ready to play -- unlike Game 3 when the Knicks went down 9-0 early -- and they trailed by six at the end of the first quarter. While the Knicks could've easily been blown out, being down 17 at halftime, D'Antoni made a key adjustment after the break inserting Walker and Williams into the starting five to get scoring. Their production, in addition to Roger Mason Jr.'s, helped chip away at the Celtics' lead -- and gave fans something to cheer about.