Wake up with the Celtics  and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
Celtics Sixth Man Glen Davis  threw the first jab at Amar’e Stoudemire, but the Knicks’ All-Star power forward has responded with a 1-2 punch before each game of their first-round series. In the latest installment of “Look Who’s Talking Trash,” during a discussion about “pulling the chair” on Davis in the second quarter of Game 1, Stoudemire told the New York Post :
“I’m just playing smart. I know ‘Baby’ wanted to try to draw contact and draw fouls. His core is not really as tight as it should be, so I knew I can catch him off-balance from that. I kind of backed up, but I thought he traveled on the play, but he turned the ball over.”
Not only does Stoudemire (aka, STAT: Standing Tall and Talented) believe the 6-foot-9, 295-pound Davis can’t guard him in Game 2 on Tuesday, the four-time All-NBA selection — who scored 28 points on 12-of-18 shooting in his team’s 87-85 loss on Sunday — doesn’t think anybody on the Celtics can stop him in this series, including Garnett, the league’s second-leading vote getter for Defensive Player of the Year :
“I don’t think there’s anything they can do. Besides try to deny me the ball. But there’s ways to get open. … I feel great. It’s still the same old me. And the playoffs always bring the best out of me. It’s going to get even better as the series goes on.”
Stoudemire’s feud with Davis began prior to Game 1, when Big Baby explained  to the Post that he didn’t believe the Knicks’ $100 million man was all that difficult to defend and that New York’s center-by-committee provided the Celtics a perfect opportunity to rest the ailing Shaquille O’Neal  (who will also miss Game 2 ):
- On Stoudemire: “It’s really not that hard. I don’t know why. I’ve been tripping. I give him too much credit. I just have to make him react to me, not me react to him because it’s too late. If he gets one step on you, he’s too strong and too quick. You just have to make him play your game.”
- On Shaq: “This is a good chance for him to rest. Especially this game — these games — against these guys.”
Prior to helping the Knicks hold Davis to 1-of-8 shooting in Game 1, Stoudemire responded  to Big Baby’s comments in the New York Daily News:
“Me and Glen Davis are on two different platforms right now. He’s a solid player, does a great job for his ballclub. But we are on two different platforms.”
CHAUNCEY BILLUPS : ‘VERY QUESTIONABLE’
Based on the reports out of Knicks practice on Monday, starting point guard Chauncey Billups is not expected to play in Game 2 against the Celtics after straining his left knee on Sunday. Backup Toney Douglas  will likely start in his place, especially when you consider Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni called Billups  “very questionable” and there’s “much more probability Friday” for Game 3 in New York.
In addition to reporting that the Knicks’ coaching staff “almost prefers Douglas running the show because the club plays at a livelier pace and it wants to speed it up,” the Post talked to Billups and Douglas at practice :
Billups: “At this point of the season, it’s the worst time, the worst thing that could possibly happen, getting hurt in the first round, first game of a tough series. And I know the team really needs me. I’m just frustrated. It’s how the ball bounces sometimes and hopefully I can get back soon. Everything is day to day. Hopefully tomorrow, but I don’t know if that’s realistic. I’m not feeling that great, honestly.”
Douglas: “I’m ready,” the 25-year-old said, adding he thinks he can handle Rondo. “That’s just me being a player. No matter if he’s a good player or not, I’m ready to take on the challenge and play defense and do what I’ve got to do to help the team win.”
In 31.6 minutes per game, Billups averaged 17.5 points on 40.3 percent shooting, 5.5 assists and 2.3 turnovers in 21 starts for the Knicks this season. In nine starts this year, Douglas averaged 13.9 points on 52.2 percent shooting, 5.7 assists and 1.6 turnovers in 29.0 minutes per game. Those numbers should get the C’s attention.
CARMELO ANTHONY’S MELTDOWN GETS WORSE
Not only did Carmelo Anthony miss 10 of his 11 shots in the second half of Game 1, but the Knicks forward didn’t even realize his team was out of timeouts when he decided to dribble up the floor and launch his potential game-winning 3-pointer with 6.5 seconds remaining.
After a Post reporter informed Anthony  that the Knicks were actually out of timeouts at the time, he said, “I didn’t know, to be honest, and maybe that’s my bone-headed mistake.”
If I were a Knicks fan, I’d be livid about that statement for two reasons: 1) Anthony didn’t trust D’Antoni enough to even consider calling a timeout and setting up a better play than a contested trey, and 2) In the closing moments of an NBA Playoff game, he wasn’t aware of an important detail that most players were.
KNICKS BLAME IT ON THE REFS
It wasn’t too difficult to find Knicks coaches, players, fans and media complaining about the calls in Game 1. Here are just a few of the complaints New Yorkers had with the referees during the 87-85 Celtics victory:
- New York Post columnist Peter Vecsey : Chauncey Billups was fouled by Jermaine O’Neal  on the drive when he injured his left knee; Melo was fouled first by Paul Pierce , who had his arm draped over him before Anthony moved it with his arm; and Kevin Garnett  avoided a two-minute tripping penalty for sprawling Toney Douglas as he tried to track down Ray Allen  before he could deliver the Celtics from evil.
- D’Antoni : “Is my hair getting grayer? … Toney on the floor makes it tough to guard [Allen]. Obviously there was something there. But sometimes at the end of games, they don’t call them. It’d be nice if they called it on Anthony, they’ll call it on the other end also.”
- Stoudemire: “If it weren’t for Toney Douglas, he got tripped up on the last play, we had a chance to win. I just saw him falling. Didn’t actually see the actual screen. But again, if he wouldn’t have tripped up, we probably would’ve had a better defensive play on that particular play. But we feel like we’ve got a great chance to win Game 2.”
JERMAINE O’NEAL: BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
The New York Times published an interesting read  on the relationship between Knicks president Donnie Walsh and Celtics center Jermaine O’Neal, who each held the same roles during the 2003-04 with the Pacers during the notorious Ron Artest  brawl in Detroit.
- Walsh on O’Neal: “He’s been through a lot of injuries, but I guarantee you, he can still shoot it and still box out. And he looks at peace.’
- O’Neal on Artest: ‘I didn’t really know how to feel. I was happy for him as a person. I knew his life away from basketball, so I was happy for him that he won. I know how hard it is to win a championship in this league. Some guys go a long time without winning. But he understood that we could have been there a lot earlier.’