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April 23, 2013

Celtics plan more Garnett, and Knicks expect it

(Continued)

Part of the problem is the Celtics’ lack of a point guard with Rajon Rondo lost for the season with a knee injury. Boston often struggled to get into any offense, especially during its eight-point fourth quarter, and finished the game with 21 turnovers.

Even if Garnett doesn’t shoot, the Celtics think he can help in that area because of his passing skills.

“Usually he ends up getting four and five assists, so we have to do a better job of involving him because he’s good at doing a lot of playmaking duties,” Pierce said.

Chandler missed the final six games of the regular season and played in only four of the last 20 because of a bulging disk. He was scoreless and didn’t even take a shot Saturday, finishing with only five rebounds in 20 minutes. He and the Knicks said the problem was just rust, not any recurring pain, and expect him to be better as the playoffs go along.

“Obviously, it’s going to be a little stiff, a little sore in there. But I felt great,” Chandler said. “It’s just when you’re out for so long, you’re not playing against some park and rec dudes, you’re playing against the best of the best. I’m trying to condition myself, playing against the best of the best. It’s just getting my timing back, getting my legs under me, getting back into the flow of the game.”

The Knicks can afford to be patient while Chandler regains his stamina as long as they keep getting efforts like they received Saturday from Kenyon Martin, who finished with 10 points and nine rebounds, and played the entire fourth quarter. Along with J.R. Smith, who won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award Monday, the Knicks appear to have a huge advantage when the teams have to go to their benches.

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