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- Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith will have to keep up their heavy scoring pace. The two combined to average more than 46 points per game and the Knicks will need close to that output to prosper in the postseason.
- Tyson Chandler, who averaged nearly three fouls per game, will have to stay out of foul trouble. He has been battling a bulging disc in his neck and must be healthy. Few players mean more to their team defensively than Chandler and without him in the game, the Celtics should be able to rule the paint.
- When Raymond Felton was injured the Knicks missed him and while he may not be an elite point guard, he is more than serviceable for this team. Felton averaged nearly 14 points per game and may need to surpass that total. Anthony and Smith figure to be played even tighter and Felton should get open looks. Plus he is capable driving to the basket and drawing fouls.
- Get Steve Novak open shots. Novak is one of the best pure shooters in the NBA, but he isn’t a player who creates his own shots. That why it is important with Smith or Anthony drawing the double-team to kick it over to Novak, whose three-point percentage is better than his overall field goal percentage.
- Getting offensive production from the guard spot. Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee will be dared to shoot. Jason Terry (10.1 ppg.) didn’t have the year expected but he can provide instant offense and it will be needed.
- Staying healthy. Kevin Garnett missed time late in the season with foot inflammation, but he has returned. Garnett proved during last year’s playoffs that for 30 minutes a game, he can still be a force, especially on the defensive end.
- Paul Pierce remains among the top clutch players but the Celtics can’t bury him with too many minutes. Having Pierce fresh at the end of the games is key because the Celtics want him taking the big shot.
- Interior scoring. Brandon Bass and Jeff Green will have to provide interior scoring, although Green is also a threat from three-point range, giving the offensive some versatility.
- Stopping Carmelo Anthony. The Celtics will likely use a variety of defenders, but more importantly, they will have to provide weakside help because nobody is going to be able to handle Anthony one-on-one.