Their responsibility is going to be doubled when J.R. Smith returns from his one-game suspension tomorrow night. The Knicks arsenal will return to full strength in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Celtics, and Carmelo Anthony will no longer be the C’s only concern. But the team’s defensive approach won’t change. Anthony, a wrecking ball when it comes to up-faking the other team into foul trouble, requires a cast the size of “Glee.” That means that Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass and Jeff Green, all thrown at Anthony during the Celtics’ Game 4 overtime win Sunday, will continue to man the barricade. Though the Celtics nearly succumbed after blowing a 20-point lead, the effectiveness of the above three, and especially Bass, was finally reflected in Anthony’s numbers. Denied Smith’s support, the Knicks star needed 35 shots to score 36 points. Though Pierce, Bass and Green combined for 16 fouls, with Bass fouling out in overtime, the defensive rotation ultimately worked. “It’s funny, Brandon gets in foul trouble, Jeff has to guard him, we had the one timeout at the end of the game when you knew they were going to go to Carmelo,” coach Doc Rivers said of his late-game dilemma. “Jeff and Paul both have five fouls, and you’re thinking, ‘Who do you want to sacrifice?’ That’s how you felt, because (Anthony is) such a foul-magnet. He’s really good at drawing fouls. But I thought Paul, I thought they all did, took their share, and Jeff was great as well.” None, though, seemed to thrive in coverage as much as Bass, before foul trouble forced him to lighten up.
Don’t get Melo on ‘D’
Boston Herald | Apr 30