JZ's Keys to Game 2

After blowing a winnable series opener to The Knicks, Boston desperately needs to steal home court advantage in Game 2. If The Celtics doesn't pull off a win tonight, they'll need to win 4 of the next 5 games in the series, meaning they will have almost no margin for error. Seeing as Doc Rivers' ballclub has very little depth and has been turning it over at an inordinate rate, tonights result looms heavily over Boston's postseason prospects. While the team suffered a befuddling collapse in their 8 point 4th quarter, they can steal Game 2 in Madison Square Garden if they accomplish these 3 goals.

Get Garnett Going:
Having sat for most of the regular season's final stretch, KG looked rusty in Game 1, shooting 4-12 with 3 turnovers and 5 fouls. Not only was he outmuscled by Kenyon Martin in the clutch, but he missed several signature pull up and turnaround jumpers. Doc Rivers did not even play Shavlik Randolph or Chris Wilcox, making Jeff Green and Brandon Bass the next tallest players in the lineup (dubiously listed at 6'9" and 6'8"). New York's perimeter players are so incredibly explosive that The Celtics really have no chance if they don't get better front-court production. 6 years into his epic run with Boston, Garnett is still the team's most important piece (with Rondo out and Jeff Green shouldering some of Pierce's offensive load), and he needs to set the tone early and on both ends of the floor. Fortunately, he was moving pretty well this weekend, and I've yet to see the Hall of Famer give less than his all with his back against the wall.

Contain Carmelo:
Despite his horrible playoff record (booted in the first round in 8 of his 9 postseason appearances), Carmelo Anthony is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous scorers in The NBA. Not surprisingly, he began Game 1 on absolute fire, hitting his first 4 shots for 12 points. However, Brandon Brass played exceptional defense in the middle quarters, crowding Melo at the elbow, slowing him on the dribble, and contesting his shots. Jeff Green also had a few solid defensive runs against #7, but more importantly, wore him down with his own offense (26 points for Iron Man). Unfortunately, Anthony caught fire again in the 4th, knocking down big-time jump shots and drawing enough pressure to leave Kenyon Martin alone inside. You can't truly lock down Carmelo (though he becomes an impediment to his team if you entice him to enter chucker mode), but Boston has to make every possession difficult and foul hard when he gets inside. Doc will live with Anthony scoring 30 points if they're all tough isolation jump shots where the Knicks' supporting cast sits and watches, but another flurry of easy triples and drives will bury the Celtics.

Win the Bench Battle:

The Celtics' bench could not have been worse this weekend. After a season of injuries, Doc went with a shortened, 8-man rotation, but Jason Terry, Jordan Crawford, and Courtney Lee shot 0-7 from the field for a combined -18. Jason Terry was the biggest offender, missing 4 open trifectas that could have won the game for Boston. While, obviously, you can't read too much into such a tiny minute sample size, The (broken down) Jet didn't log a single assist and was a complete non-factor. The 35 year old shooter has made his living in the postseason, and a strong performance would give Boston a huge boost. I don't expect Crawford and Lee to play very much, but they can impact the game if they harass the passing lanes, create open looks for teammates, and knock down a few jumpers. On the defensive end, the whole team has to focus on fighting Kenyon Martin down low. The Knicks forward had 10 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks Saturday, seizing the momentum in the 4th quarter to put down The C's. With starters Chris Copeland and Tyson Chandler combining for 0 points in 33 minutes, it's mind boggling that Boston still couldn't win Game 1. They'll need to limit Martin, (as well as continuing to stifle J.R. Smith) if they hope to leave MSG with the series tied.

Follow Jacob on Twitter @TheReelJZ