There was actually a lot the Celtics could live with from their Game 1 loss to the New York Knicks in their Eastern Conference playoff series, virtually all of it in the defensive end.

From New York’s point total (85) and shooting percentage (40.5) to the inefficiency, if not the point total, of Carmelo Anthony (36 points, but on 13-for-29 shooting), the C’s hit several defensive targets.

The Knicks can’t be expected to shoot that poorly again. New York remains the most explosive 3-point shooting team in the playoff field, but the Celtics at least have a baseline goal for tonight’s Game 2 at Madison Square Garden.

“I like the way we picked up ball pressure,” Paul Pierce said. “Melo’s going to hit some tough shots and J.R. (Smith) is going to hit some tough shots. But overall the field goal defense is right where we want it to be. The number of points they scored is where we want the number to be. Overall in the defensive end that’s what we want.

“We say we’re going to hold a team in a seven-game series to 40 percent shooting and 85 points a game, I like our chances.”

Anthony, for example, can expect to receive more of the same treatment. Brandon Bass, who arguably had the most success guarding Anthony, focused on forcing the Knicks forward to put the ball on the floor and drive.

“You definitely have to do that. He’s a better shooter than anything else,” Bass said.

Bass was praised by coach Doc Rivers yesterday for “playing the perfect game.”

That especially included defense. Bass, who hit the only two shots he attempted, instead had his greatest impact at the defensive end, statistically reflected by his 10 rebounds and Anthony’s 2-for-11 close to the first half after a 4-for-4 start.

Bass guarded Anthony for most of that stretch.