Notebook: Knicks' second-half D key

April, 24, 2013
4/24/13
2:18
AM ET
Carmelo Anthony has a combined 70 points in Games 1 and 2, both wins for the Knicks. As for the Celtics, as a whole, they've only scored a combined 48 points in second halves.

So what was the difference for the Knicks after halftime on Tuesday night?

"Just being aggressive defensively," Raymond Felton said. "Just staying into our man and playing great help defense. Everybody locking in and understanding what we need to do to get the lead and take the lead and try to win the game."

Kenyon Martin cited several reasons for allowing the Celtics to exploit their defense and lead 48-42 at halftime.

"We're not helping one another. We're not talking," he said. "It's the same thing it was in Game 1. That's correctable."

To put into perspective how poorly the Celtics' offense was in the second half, their 7-for-36 outing from the field (19.4 percent) was their worst shooting performance in any postseason half over the last 15 seasons. The Knicks forced the Celtics to shoot more outside jump shots, as their ball pressure improved -- especially full court. The Celtics' disadvantage is that they've been playing without All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, who excels in breaking presses and can score consistently as a one-man fast break.

"When the ball was coming up, we were sitting back on the wings and they had us on our heels and attacking," Mike Woodson said. "We eliminated that in the second half. Everybody was up and took the challenge as far as guarding individually. Our pick-and-roll coverages were pretty good. We therefore finally hit a good offensive spot in the third quarter, and it gave us that cushion we needed."

A big reason for the Knicks' improved offense was because they got the Celtics' bigs in more foul trouble, and the paint was more available. At times while Kevin Garnett was on the bench, Tyson Chandler or Kenyon Martin were playing and provided more of a punch. In the fourth quarter, K-Mart had two big blocks, and the Celtics had no answer inside.

CHANDLER'S GAME 2: For starters, Chandler finally scored in the series, on a layup and foul on Kevin Garnett. Chandler also had a block in the Knicks' big third quarter. Still, the starting center didn't look like the same player he's been this season, and it's unclear if his conditioning or previous neck ailment is a factor.

Chandler, who finishd with three points and five rebounds in 22 minutes, didn't address the media after the game.

PAIN-FREE PABLO? Not quite yet. Pablo Prigioni said his sprained right ankle is "75-80" percent healthy, but he hopes to be fully healed by Friday when the Knicks take the floor for Game 3 of the series.

"I'm happy we won and I have three more days to keep doing treatment so everything's OK," he said.

Prigioni had five assists, one point and one steal in 18 minutes. He missed Game 1 due to the ankle injury, and said with three days of treatment the pain should diminish greatly before Game 3.

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Ian Begley

ESPN New York Writer

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
23.7 3.2 0.9 36.5
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsA. Stoude... 7.4
AssistsJ. Calderon 4.2
StealsP. Prigioni 1.4
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.2