Knicks 111 Celtics 115 OT
The Knicks and Celtics played another thriller this afternoon to add to the great games throughout their rivalry; and also gave Knick fans another disappointing loss. Paul Pierce knocked down a 3 pointer with under 5 seconds left to tie the game, which ended up going to overtime after Carmelo Anthony missed a jump shot in the corner at the buzzer. Referees were taking control throughout the game, but rightfully swallowed their whistles towards the end letting the players determine the outcome.
Early foul trouble also hindered the Knicks, as Jeremy Lin picked up 2 early fouls. Baron Davis filled in valiantly off the bench for Lin, but turned the ball over too frequently (Davis and Lin combined for 12 of the 22 Knick turnovers). Carmelo Anthony also had to exit the game midway through the 3rd quarter after picking up his 4th foul. Carmelo's exit coincided with a Celtics run to make a 5 point halftime lead for the Knicks into an 8 point deficit going into the 4th quarter. Reading Carmelo Anthony's final numbers wont wow you, but he came up biggest when the Knicks needed him in the 4th quarter, scoring 11 of his 25 points in the final period of regulation. Same goes for Lin, who had a too many turnovers but did come up big for the Knicks in late game situations showing a lot of heart. It is another learning experience for Lin, who some people still forget is only playing about his 20th game with big minutes.
- Rajon Rondo is a gifted point guard. At points during the game he took some ill-advised shots, but more than made up for it with his final stat line and play throughout. Rondo finished with 18 points 17 rebounds and 20 assists for his 4th triple double of the season. A game like this, at least 17-17-17, has only happened two other times in NBA history, Magic Johnson, who had 24 points, 17 assists and 17 rebounds on April 18, 1989 and Wilt Chamberlain who exceeded Rondo's amounts with 22 points, 25 rebounds and 21 assists on Feb. 2, 1968. The Celtics have to be re-thinking their trade demands for Rondo, as this team just is not the game without him on the court.
-The Knicks 2nd unit showed up again, outplaying the starting 5 for most if not all of the game. The glaring difference in today's game was the play of the back-court. Even with an off game from JR Smith (2 pts, 1-6 FG, 0-3 from 3pt) the guards still had a great game overall, with Baron Davis and Iman Shumpert combining for a +/- of positive 19, compared to the Knicks starting back-court of Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields for negative 27 (Celtics starting back-court of Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen combined for +27). Also the contribution from Steve Novak for deep (14 pts 4-7 3pt) and Jared Jeffries on defense helped put the Knicks in a game in which the starting unit struggled. The Knicks benched outscored the Celtics bench 45-15, mostly dominating for the portions of the game they were in. It is nice seeing what 2 weeks ago was thought of as the weakest part of the team is now playing great basketball.
-Amar'e Stoudemire had a decent game overall, going for 16 points on 7-16 FG and 1-2 FT and 13 rebounds. But he still seems without the bounce that made him one of the most dominant players in the NBA over the past seasons. One example would be in OT when he failed to finish his putback dunk attempt. Amar'e from seasons past would have ferociously dunked that ball instead of clanking it off the rim like what happened today. As a Knicks fan hopefully he can get back to his old ways and not look like an over-paid role player he seems to be becoming.
Things To Take From Game Today:
-How injured is Tyson Chandler's Wrist?
Chandler spent most of the 4th quarter run on the bench, subbing in only in the last minute for defense. He did play the whole overtime period, which is a good sign, but was mostly a non-factor outside the 2 offensive rebounds after the game was mostly decided. He finished the game with only 8 points on 3-7 FG and 2-2 FT but did have a team leading 14 rebounds. You have to think Chandler will come out firing facing his old team in the Dallas Mavericks and finally receiving his championship ring.
-4th Quarter Defense
The Knicks again came out with fire and intensity throughout the 4th quarter, mounting the comeback to force the game into overtime. You wish as a Knicks fan they would show that same fire and intensity throughout the entire game not just here and there. Some coaching decisions could be second guessed however in the 4th quarter. D'Antoni does not do it often if ever, but you have to consider fouling on that last Celtic possession that resulted in a Pierce game tying 3 pointer. The Celtics cant beat you when your up 3 by making 2 FT's. Something just to consider during late game situations.
The next game for the Knicks is Tuesday, March 6th @ Dallas Mavericks at 8:30 ET