April 17, 2012
The fourth seeded Boston Celtics visited the Mecca of basketball for the first game of TNT’s double header, at Madison Square Garden in New York. The first time these two squared off was on Christmas Day, which was the opening day of the season, in the same arena. The two teams battled throughout the whole game and in the end, the Knicks won by two. The New York Knicks come into tonight’s game, without Jeremy Lin and Amare Stoudemire, not only 1-2 against the Celtics in their season series, but also tied with the Philadelphia 76ers record-wise. The Knicks hoped for a win tonight to secure the seventh seed. The Celtics, without the sharp-shooting Ray Allen and hustle man, Mickael Pietrus, faced a similar situation as they were tied with the Atlanta Hawks and the Dwight Howard-less Orlando Magic, with a 36-25 record.
The first few minutes of the first quarter was exciting for the Boston Celtics. Boston started out strong answering a Knicks basket with a 7-0 run. The Knicks answered back, scoring six straight point. The Knicks managed to take their first lead of the game with two makes from the charity stripe by rookie guard, Iman Shumpert. Knicks forward, Carmelo Anthony scored his seventh and eighth points after a strong take to the basket and fouled by Celtics forward, Brandon Bass. After missing their last four field goals, Celtics center, Kevin Garnett took it up to the basket for a smooth layup to cut the Knicks lead, down 13-11. Point guard, Rajon Rondo ties up the game off of a spin move to lay it up and in the basket. Minutes later, off of a Knicks turnover, Rondo records his fifth assist on the break away with a beautiful lob to guard, Avery Bradley, who has been starting in the absence of Ray Allen. With 0:56 left, Iman Shumpert pushed the Knicks lead to four with a corner three pointer. Game clock running down, the Celtics lose the ball, failing to attempt a shot to end the quarter. The Knicks find themselves up by six, 32-26, with Carmelo Anthony leading the way with 12 points, four rebounds and four assists. The second quarter started off with a beautiful pass from guard, J.R. Smith to forward, Jared Jeffries, to push the Knicks’ lead to eight. Minutes later, J.R. Smith stops and pops up a three to bring the lead up to 11. With the possession again, J.R. Smith takes a pass from forward, Steve Novak for an open three to put the Knicks up by 14, 40-26. With 2:30 left in the second quarter, the Knicks go up 20, 63-43. The Knicks end up leading 72-53, after putting up a three point clinic against the weak Celtics defense.
The Celtics came out of the locker room with defense on their minds. With under six minutes left to go in the third, the Celtics managed to cut the big lead down to 10, 81-71. Rondo grabs his 10th assist with a shot from forward, Paul Pierce, with 4:25 left in the period. The Knicks pushed back up by 15, after J.R. Smith hits two of his free throws, after drawing a hard foul from big man, Greg Steisma. With 1:35 left, Paul Pierce hits a triple, leaving the Knicks hanging around, cutting the Knicks’ lead to 12. With 0:27 left, Celtics forward, Brandon Bass hits a tough mid-range turnaround jumper to bring the lead down to 10. Shot clock running down in the final seconds of the third, Carmelo drives the lane and dishes it to an open Knicks center, Tyson Chandler, to bring the lead back up to 12. At the end of three, Knicks were on top, 96-84. Steve Novak started the fourth and final period with a three pointer, but Paul Pierce recorded his 32nd point with a three of his own. After a big put back by Chandler, the Knicks were back up by 14, 101-87. Paul Pierce cuts the lead to 8 with 4:35 left in the final quarter. Pierce then cuts the lead to six with two clutch free throws. The Knicks found no problem answering back as Steve Novak hit a three to bring the Knicks’ lead back up to nine with 2:37 left in the game. Rondo quickly answers back with a two if his own, lead back down to seven. Steve Novak catches a pass from Carmelo Anthony for an open three and hits it, bringing the Knicks lead back up to 10, with 2:04 left in the final period. The Celtics managed to only cut the lead to eight, but at the end of the game, the Knicks took the very important win, 118-110, to seal the seventh seed with a game ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Boston Celtics Top Performers
The Boston Celtics only received production from their five starters. Brandon Bass scored 15 points on 6-8 shooting and grabbed 6 rebounds. Avery Bradley scored 17 points on 6-9 shooting, 5-6 from beyond the arc. Bradley recorded 3 rebounds, but 0 assists to end the night. Kevin Garnett scored 20 points on 7-14 shooting, along with 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. The high point man for the green men was Paul Pierce. Pierce, only averaging 32 points against the Knicks this season, scored 43 on 11-19 shooting, making 17 of 18 attempts from the charity stripe. Pierce racked in 2 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Rajon Rondo scored 13, 6 of which came from beyond the arc. Rajon was 50% from the arc on 2-4 shooting. Rondo was able to grab 6 rebounds, but he also dished the ball out 13 times, to record his 23rd straight game with 10+ assists. The only man who scored for the C’s was Keyon Dooling, with a measly 2 points.
New York Knicks Top Performers
The Knicks pulled off a win with only four players in double figures. Those players were the ones who won the game for the Knicks with huge plays. Tyson Chandler scored 20 points on 9-10 shooting and grabbed 7 rebounds. J.R. Smith and Steve Novak helped the Knicks a huge deal, coming off the bench. The big story for them was their big threes. J.R. Smith scored 25 points on 8-16 shooting, 7-10 which came from beyond the arc. Smith played like a point guard, dishing out 6 assists and also grabbed 4 rebounds. Steve Novak scored 25 points on 8-10 shooting, all from beyond the arc. One of his points came from a make from the free throw line, after drawing a foul after making a three for a four-point play. The high point man was their leader, Carmelo Anthony. Anthony notched in 35 points on 13-24 shooting. He also managed a triple-double grabbing 12 rebounds and creating for his teammates with 10 assists.
Losing Team Breakdown
What went wrong for the the Boston Celtics? Looking at the box sore, the Celtics should have won the game. The Knicks had 16 turnovers to a Celtics 11. Boston had 7 steals to a Knicks 6. The Celtics had 9 less total personal fouls than New York. The difference was with the shooting. The Knicks were fired up for tonight’s game from three point land. New York shot 59.4% from beyond the arc, while Boston only shot 52.4%. Shooting wasn’t the only difference, though. Rebounds, hustle on the glass, wins the game. Truth be told, the Knicks proved it tonight. The Knicks grabbed 10 offensive boards to a Celtics’ 6. In total, the Celtics grabbed only 26 boards while the Knicks managed to hustle in 36. Though it is not talked about often, the offensive glass is very important. Second chance points can be a big game changer and the Knicks were the beneficial of it.
What’s Coming Up?
The Celtics are now with 26 in the loss column in the Eastern Conference standings. They are still tied in wins with the Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks, giving them the benefit of the fourth seed in the East. The Celtics face a must-win game tomorrow night against the Orlando Magic. The Celtics can only hope for a loss, as the Hawks play a charging Detroit Pistons. Granting the C’s win against Orlando and a Hawks loss to the Pistons, the Celtics will have the upper hand, staying in the fourth seed of the Eastern Conference, heading into the playoffs.
The New York Knicks secured the seventh spot tonight with the win. While the game was going on, the Philadelphia 76ers were playing the Indiana Pacers. The Knicks and Sixers were tied in both the win and loss column in standings. Unfortunately for the Sixers, Philadelphia lost a very close game to the Pacers, while the Carmelo-led Knicks, obviously took the win. The Knicks are now one full game ahead of Philadelphia, with only the Milwaukee Bucks chasing the eighth seed. The Knicks take a quick bus ride to face New Jersey tomorrow night. The Knicks hope to grab an easy win against the Nets because the Sixers face an easy game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Still a tight race in the East, are the Knicks strong enough, without Amare Stoudemire, to keep the seventh seed, with only five games left?