Knicks Prepare For a Sweep
Game 2 of New York’s series with Boston followed a pattern similar to Game 1. The Celtics took command in the first half, this time leading 48-42 at the break, and then fell apart in the second. The Knicks exploded in the third quarter, racking up 32 points as they held Boston to only 11, then kept the Celtics to just 12 as they slowed things down in the fourth. They won 87-71.
Carmelo Anthony led the charge with 34 points, followed by JR Smith’s 19. Raymond Felton contributed 16, and Kenyon Martin grabbed 11 rebounds while blocking 4 shots.
The Knicks traveled to Boston for Game 3 last night; this time they didn’t wait for the second half to put away the Celtics. New York led by 5 after the first quarter and carried a 47-31 spread into halftime. The Celtics kept pace with the Knicks after the break, but could do little to overcome the deficit as New York went on to win 90-76.
Melo lead the game in scoring yet again, though this time he only put up 26. Felton and Smith both scored 15, but Raymond’s night was a bit stronger of a showing: he posted a double-double on 10 assists, whereas Smith was ejected in the fourth quarter for delivering an elbow to Jason Terry’s face.
The Knicks will try to end their first round of the NBA playoffs in Boston at 1:00 PM tomorrow.
Nets Down 1-2 Against Bulls
After dominating the Bulls in Game 1, Brooklyn suffered a home loss which tied the series at 1 apiece. They traveled to Chicago for Game 3 on Thursday, where they trailed for most of the night.
Chicago outscored Brooklyn 41-34 in the first half, then piled another six points onto the spread in the third quarter. The Nets, who shot 28% from the field through the first three quarters of the game, found their footing in the fourth. They held the Bulls to just 14 points in the last quarter as they clawed their way back to a 3-point differential with five seconds left and possession. Brooklyn shuffled the ball to CJ Watson, who missed a wide-open but rushed 3 as time expired. The Nets lost 79-76.
Brook Lopez, who shot 50% from the field, led the Nets in their loss with 22 points. Deron Williams scored 18 and Joe Johnson shot for 15.
The Nets will try to tie the series at 2 when they play Game 4 in Chicago at 2:00 PM this afternoon.
Islanders Skid into Postseason
The Islanders ended the regular season with a week of losses, but they still clinched a playoff spot on Tuesday when they took Carolina into overtime.
The Hurricanes took a 1-goal lead three times throughout the game, but each successful shot in regulation was met by an equalizer from New York. Boyes was responsible for the first tie, scoring six minutes into the first, and Bailey’s second period goal tied the game at 2. Tavares forced overtime when he scored the Islanders’ third goal with only 61 seconds left in regulation. Nabokov blocked 29 of 32 shots before the team went down in a shootout, 2-0.
Thursday’s game in Philadelphia saw far less offensive output. Down 1-0 after a Flyers goal in the first, Tavares knocked in the Islanders’ lone goal 1:37 into the second period. Philly went on to score a second time on Poulin, who blocked 28 on the night, with 6:31 left in the game to put New York down 2-1.
The Islanders ended the season in Buffalo last night, where the Sabres scored the only goal of the first two periods. Aucoin tied the game 7:26 into the third, forcing an eventual shootout which Buffalo took 1-0. Nabokov Stopped 21 of 22 in the OT loss.
Though the team has no more games left to play, the Islanders’ position as the 6th seed in the NHL East is not secure. The Rangers and Senators, who trail them by only one point, have one and two games left on the schedule respectively.
Rangers Clinch Playoff Berth
The Rangers beat the Devils to kick off the last week of the regular season, but could not clinch a playoff spot when they traveled to Florida. A second period Panther goal would ultimately prove the difference maker, as the Rangers failed to find the back of the net until 2:35 into the third when Pyatt scored. Florida got past Lundqvist, who stopped 13 of 15, a second time and then scored an empty netter for a third goal before Brassard scored with 33 seconds to go, ending the game 3-2 in the Panthers’ favor.
With their playoff hopes still in jeopardy, the Rangers traveled to North Carolina on Thursday. Stepan and Brassard combined to give them a 2-0 lead in the first, but the Hurricanes tied the game in the second. Carolina took a 3-2 lead 49 seconds into the third, but Richards forced overtime with a successful shot 17:03 into the period. Callahan capitalized on the opportunity and gave New York a 4-3 OT win. Lundqvist stopped 18 of 21 on the night.
With that victory the Rangers are now guaranteed a place in the playoffs. Presently they are the 8th seed, but they trail the 6th seed Islanders by only 1 point and have one game left to go before the postseason begins. They play the Devils at 3:00 PM this afternoon.
Yankees Keep Hurting
Phil Hughes had his second strong showing of the season against the Rays on Tuesday, but still could not pick up the win. He allowed only 2 runs through 7 complete innings, but was replaced by Robertson in the 8th with the game tied 2-2. Ichiro drove Cano and Hafner home with an RBI single that would give credit for the won to Robertson and set Mariano Rivera up for his 6th save of his final year.
The Yanks went on to drop the rubber game as Andy Pettitte suffered his first loss, dropping to 3-1. Despite 10 strikeouts through six innings, 3 runs allowed between the 5th and 6th gave Tampa more than they needed to take the series. Alex Cobb, with a little 9th inning help from Fernando Rodney handed New York a shutout.
The first half of a 4 game series against Toronto has been more successful, if not smoother, with Kuroda improving to 3-1 on the year and Rivera getting his 7th save in Game 1. Vernon Wells, Robinson Cano, and Francisco Cervelli all went deep in the 5-3 victory.
New York won Game 2 as well, by a final tally of 6-4 with River getting his 8th save, but the news was not all sweet in the Bronx. Francisco Cervelli left the game on the first batter after a foul tip broke his hand; he will be out 6 weeks after undergoing surgery. Ivan Nova had to step out as well, leaving in the third inning with pain in his elbow. The Yankees have not yet announced MRI results for Nova’s injury.
The Yanks will continue to regroup when they play the third game in the series at 4:05 PM today.
Mets Trend Downward, but Win 1 in Grand Fashion
The Mets lost this week’s series against the Dodgers 2-1. They were blown out of the first game by a final of 7-2, but returned the favor in Game 2. After an RBI single from David Wright tied the game at 3 with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, Jordany Valdespin smashed in a grand slam to give the Mets a 4-3 win in the 10th. Parnell was credited with the win. A pitching duel quieted things down in Game 3, but 2 LA runs in the 9th gave the Dodgers a 3-2 win.
Unfortunately, last night’s game against the Phillies did not go any better. Dillon Gee held Philadelphia scoreless through five innings, but gave up 4 runs in the 6th. Those 4 would prove the only offense for the entire night, as the Mets were shutout in a 4-0 loss.
New York will try to rebound at 1:05 PM today.