It's a gorgeous Sunday morning in Boston's West End. Unobstructed sunshine and blooming trees providing an odd juxtaposition to the 0-3 hole the Celtics find themselves in prior to their matinee with the New York Knicks here at TD Garden. Early during the 9 o'clock hour D.J. White and Shavlik Randolph went hard through warm-ups while the Celtics dancers, dressed in their Sunday-best whites, took dozens of team photos. This could be the dance team's final game for 2012-13. The Celtics are hoping to at least extend the series back to New York for Game 5.
The Knicks didn't practice Saturday, and who could fault them? They've yet to make a single adjustment in the series because the game plan they established in Game 1 has worked out just fine: double-team Paul Pierce and Jeff Green, deny Kevin Garnett, and let anyone else try to beat them. To this point no one has. Knicks guard J.R. Smith threw an unnecessary wrench into his team's plans with an elbow to Jason Terry in Game 3. Smith is suspended for Game 4, which gives the Celtics a glimmer of hope.
Here are the details for this afternoon's game:
Tipoff: 1 p.m.
Series: New York leads the best-of-seven series, 3-0
Broadcast info:Television: ABC; Radio: WEEI (93.7 FM)
Officials: Bill Kennedy, Scott Foster, and Derrick Collins.
Celtics: PG: Avery Bradley SG: Paul Pierce SF: Jeff Green PF: Brandon Bass C: Kevin Garnett
Knicks: PG: Raymond Felton SG: Pablo Prigioni SF: Iman Shumpert PF: Carmelo Anthony C: Tyson Chandler
Where will the offense come from?: Same first key from the last game. How on earth are the Celtics going to score enough points vs. the Knicks? They've yet to top 80 points. Smith's absence should help the defense, but he's not exactly a defensive juggernaut on the other end. If anything this gives Jason Kidd more run for the Knicks, and Kidd has given Pierce and company heck on D.
Doc's lineups: Does Doc Rivers have any more room to tinker with his lineups? Randolph playing for 30 minutes? Terrence Williams in a starting role? Terry started in Game 3 and the Celtics got off to their worst start, so that doesn't look like the solution.
Pride: We know Pierce and Garnett are prideful – Garnett played out of his mind Friday night in the loss – but the rest of the Celtics haven't been tested in the same way. Pierce talked after Game 3 about his teammates hanging their heads. If the Celtics get down early, will they have any fight in them?