It is something of a miracle that the New York Knicks were even in the game in the final moments of their 96-93 Game 2 loss to the Boston Celtics. Without the hobbled Amar'e Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups, they trotted out a substandard lineup for most of the game. Yet, there they were with 13 seconds left, down only one point to the defending East champions.
What followed put a sour finish on a fine performance under duress through most of the night. As you can watch in the video above, on the Knicks' final possession, Carmelo Anthony passed up the final shot, instead finding the offensively challenged Jared Jeffries under the basket for a potential layup. Jeffries, who had improbably made a driving lay-in on the previous play, immediately found himself stonewalled by Kevin Garnett. He attempted to drop off a pass to Bill Walker under the basket, but Garnett grabbed a steal and smartly called a timeout while on the floor before falling out of bounds.
Bad execution would have been enough of a problem for the Knicks. To make matters worse, though, they followed this miscue by making a lackadaisical effort to foul Delonte West on the ensuing in-bounds pass, seeing the clock dwindle from 4 seconds to 0.6 and ensuring that they wouldn't have a reasonable shot at a tying 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Knicks played a very good game Tuesday, and with a few more breaks could have pulled off the huge road upset. However, their performance in the final moments of each of the first two games in this series has been lacking. When they traded for Anthony in February, his crunch-time scoring prowess was supposed to provide a lift at the end of games. Instead, every Knicks play against the Celtics have reminded everyone that clutchness is defined by much more than making shots.