Knicks' Stoudemire ready to face tested Celts


Knicks' Stoudemire ready to face tested Celts

By JessicaCamerato

BOSTON - Amare Stoudemire knew the challenges the Boston Celtics posed when he made the move to the New York Knicks last summer:

Defending Eastern Conference champions. Veteran team boasting future Hall of Famers. Multiple weapons on offense. Gritty defenders.

He had experienced it all before as a member of the Phoenix Suns.

They are the Eastern Conference champs and theyve won a championship here before in recent years, he said following the Celtics 112-102 win on Wednesday night. Theyre definitely the team to beat, so we have to make sure that we prepare for them.

Stoudemire thinks the sixth-seeded Knicks (42-40) have the pieces to do just that as they head into their first round playoff series against the third-ranked Celtics (56-26) on Sunday.

He believes the Knicks will have to play cohesively to defeat a Celtics squad loaded with options. This series will go beyond individual matchups between star players like Stoudemire (25.3 ppg, 8.2 rpg) and Kevin Garnett (14.9 ppg, 8.9 rpg), Carmelo Anthony (26.3 ppg) and Paul Pierce (18.9 ppg), and Chauncey Billups (17.5 ppg, 5.5 apg) and Rajon Rondo (10.6 ppg, 11.2 apg). The Celtics have had postseason success in the past by getting everyone involved in the action.

Garnett is obviously good in the post, he shoots the 15-footer well, so its just a matter of us really playing team basketball, Stoudemire said. Hes not the only threat out there. You have Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen, those guys are great, great players also. So he has a great supporting cast and weve just got to make sure we contain those guys.

Just as the Celtics will turn to their second unit to play a critical role in their success, Stoudemire hopes to get his entire team involved.

Its going to be very important that all of us are glued in and really studying these guys because theyre a great veteran team, he said. It takes for us to all be accountable on both ends of the court and actually know what were doing out there and play team basketball on both ends. So it takes dedication, it takes studying, especially in the playoffs.

The Knicks shook up their team and acquired Anthony in February for this very reason -- to win in the playoffs. After less than two months together, Stoudemire is confident in the chemistry he and Anthony have developed on the court.

We both are great offensive players, he said. I think the key for us is to get better defensively. But I think if we just continue to play as hard as we can and really try to win and get other guys involved, were going to be hard to stop. And I think Boston knows it. Theyre focusing on us as we are with them. Its going to be a tough match up.

Stoudemire is ready for this series. He knows the Celtics have been there before. Hes well aware of their proven track record in the postseason. But this is what he has been working toward all season, and he is up for the challenge against the Celtics star power.

They always say playoffs makes superstars, so this is the time where we all will step up and play great basketball, he said. It starts in Round 1, Boston-Knicks.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

Celtics continue comeback narrative with win vs. Hawks

Celtics continue comeback narrative with win vs. Hawks

The Boston Celtics trail by double digits. The Celtics rally to make it relatively close by halftime. Boston continues to gain ground in the third, pull it out in the fourth.

Rinse. Recycle. Repeat.

That has been the Celtics’ mantra this season, with the latest chapter in their comeback narrative being a 110-99 win at Atlanta.

“We need to put an emphasis on playing with space and getting the ball to the other side of the floor,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “It just stuck too much early on. We were staring at some post-ups that if we got it to the other side, maybe you could take advantage of.”


Boston (15-2) fell behind by as many as 16 points against the Hawks (3-13), the second straight game the Celtics have rallied from a double-digit deficit.

In Boston’s 92-88 win over Golden State on Thursday, the Celtics fell behind by as many as 17 before rallying for their most impressive win of the season.

That said, it still shouldn’t take away from what happened on Saturday against an Atlanta team that despite their record, has shown signs of playing better in their recent games.

Players are aware of the penchant they’ve shown thus far for falling behind only to mount a furious comeback for the win.

“We don’t try to (go down early),” said Kyrie Irving following Saturday’s win which extended their winning streak to 15 straight which is the fifth-longest streak in franchise history. “Some teams, they go on runs and whether that be us giving up some easy ones or giving up some turnovers or doing things we can correct. When we do correct them, it turns into a different game.”

And that is what makes this stretch of play so impressive.

The Celtics have not played a full game; instead they have had stretches of good play that have often masked their mistakes early in the game.

That’s why head coach Brad Stevens, obviously pleased with the team’s success, knows as well as anyone that his team has to become more consistent in their play if they are to get the most out of these wins and continue to build off of them and achieve their ultimate goal – getting back to the NBA Finals.

“We’re going to keep playing,” Stevens said. “But the biggest thing is, we can’t keep digging these holes.”


Stars, studs and duds: No lack of confidence for Brown

Stars, studs and duds: No lack of confidence for Brown

When it comes to the top backcourts in the NBA, you seldom hear about Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown.

That may soon be changing if they have more games like the one they delivered on Saturday as Boston put together a solid second half to pull away from the Atlanta Hawks, 110-99.

Irving had a game-high 30 points which was his second game with at least 30 points scored – both against Atlanta.


And Brown, who had a strong 22-point performance in Boston’s win over Golden State on Thursday, was even better against the Hawks in tallying a career-high 27 points.

We all know about Irving who has established himself as one of the NBA’s top guards.

But is Brown on the way?

One thing Brown won’t have to develop going forward is, confidence.

He has long maintained that he believes he’ll be among the best in the league. It’s just a matter of him performing at a high level at both ends of the floor, consistently.

“I’ve always had that confidence, I can play with the best in the world,” Brown told NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin following the win over Atlanta which extended Boston’s winning streak to 15 in a row. “It’s just a matter of coming out, doing it. My teammates found me tonight. We had a good team win tonight.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 110-99 win at Atlanta which extended the Celtics’ winning streak to 15 in a row which is the fifth-longest winning streak in franchise history.



Jaylen Brown

Back in his home state of Georgia, Jaylen Brown delivered another monster game for the Celtics by scoring a career-high 27 points on 10-for-13 shooting with four 3-pointers.

Kyrie Irving

Irving had his most efficient game this season for the Celtics, tallying 30 points on 10-for-12 shooting to go with four rebounds and five assists.

Dennis Schroder

Atlanta’s best scorer delivering a strong 23-point, 9-assist performance for the Hawks.



Jayson Tatum

He only had 14 points, but they all came in the third quarter and they included a few crowd-quieting dunks.

John Collins

He came into the league with the reputation of being a high motor player, and he has not disappointed. His hustle and energy led to him tallying 18 points and seven rebounds.

Marcus Morris

When the offense struggled mightily in the first half, it was Morris’ scoring that kept them within striking distance. He finished with 14 points, 10 of which came in the second quarter.

Kent Bazemore

He was Atlanta’s number two scoring option most of the night, and finished with 19 points.



Boston’s first quarter defense

The Celtics can’t keep digging themselves these early holes, expecting they will turn it on and find a way to climb out of them. The Hawks led 35-20, fueled in large part by shooting 64.7 percent (11-for-17) in addition to out-rebounding Boston 8-6.