BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics beat the Knicks in overtime at the Garden in Game 4 of their first round playoff matchup on Sunday, forcing a Game 5 in New York on Wednesday night.
It looked like the Celtics figured out their issues on the offensive end of the floor in Game 4, but they still let a 20-point, third quarter lead slip away. Celtics play-by-play man Mike Gorman joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Tuesday, and thinks the Celtics have done all they can do against the Knicks, and expects a defensive battle come Wednesday night.
“I don’t think they can give anymore. I think it’s going to be a defensive struggle,” Gorman said. “I think the pressure on the Celtics is on the defensive end of the floor. I think they have broken out of the malaise they were in that carried those two record-breaking halves in New York; I’d be surprised if we saw something like that again. I expect a really close game in New York. I think it’s going to be a hell of a game.”
Doc Rivers has shuffled his starting lineup throughout the series, but seems set on a starting five of Avery Bradley, Paul Pierce, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett. Gorman said that will be the starting five we see on Wednesday, thanks in large part to Bass’ solid defense on Knicks star Carmelo Anthony.
“It’s funny to say someone did a tremendous defensive job on someone who scored 30, but Brandon Bass did a wonderful job on Carmelo,” said Gorman. “I think Brandon needs to play a lot of minutes, and he needs to play a lot of minute on Carmelo like he did on Sunday. I do think Doc goes back to the lineup he went (in Game 4) and goes with it as long as they continue to play.”
Gorman also touched on the future of Kevin Garnett with the Celtics. While he believes Garnett will play at least one more season, and possibly two, that will depend on if Paul Pierce — who can be bought out of the final year of his deal — is still on the team next year.
“From everything I’ve seen and every indication I’ve had is Kevin is around for at least one more year if not two more years until the completion of his contract,” said Gorman. “The big question is what happens to Paul Pierce. That could set off a series of dominoes if the Celtics buyout Paul Pierce or honor the final year of his final contract. That will determine the whole face of the team going forward… Kevin has always said he wouldn’t play without Paul.”
Gorman also talked about former Celtics center Jason Collins coming out as the first openly gay athlete in American pro sports on Monday.
“I always knew Jason as a bright and intelligent guy who was an excellent conversation; you could talk to him about anything,” said Gorman. “I found him to be an intriguing individual and I wish him well. I think it was a courageous thing he did.”
Listen to Toucher and Rich’s entire chat with Celtics play-by-play man Mike Gorman: