NEW YORK — The Celtics admitted they played poorly in a loss to the Knicks in Game 1 of the playoffs Saturday afternoon, but to a man they admitted that their problems were correctable and could be fixed in time for Game 2 Tuesday.
“Twenty turnovers and 10 offensive rebounds,” said Kevin Garnett. “That’s too much. Playing on the road against a good team that’s energized, you don’t help yourself.”
The Celtics absolutely did not help themselves Saturday. The turnovers began to pile up in the second half as long, listless passes into the post turned into dunks for the Knicks the other way. The Celtics scored 53 points in the first half. In the second, they managed just 25 points on an astonishing seven field goals and 11 turnovers.
“I thought each guy held the ball and tried to make their own play,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “That’s not who we are. We can’t play that way.
“If we have those turnovers in any game you should probably lose the game.”
Jeff Green was a monster in the first half, scoring 20 points, but the Celtics either went away from Green or couldn’t find him in the second half.
“They started to be more aggressive when I caught the ball,” Green said afterward. “Double teams. I didn’t get out in transition like I did in the first half. They forced turnovers. We weren’t in our sets correctly. They upped the pressure.”
Besides the offense in the second half, the Celtics said they were happy. Rivers dared the Knicks to score 85 points again in a game this series. He said his team’s issues were more fundamental than mental, and that they could be fixed by simply making better passes. Green was pleased with forcing Carmelo Anthony into taking tough shots.
“He’s a good offensive player,” said Green. “He’s going to get his shots. The best that we can do is try to make everything forced. He shot 13-for-29. What more can you ask for?”