Kevin Garnett with time running out hits a big jump shot at the buzzer to give the Celtics the win over the lowly NY Knicks. Thank God.
Celtics are struggling in a big way right now. Going into Sunday’s game at Madison Square Garden, the Celtics have lost 3 out of their last 4. Friday night against the Orlando Magic, they had their worst night shooting of the season. A week ago, the Celtics were stream rolling over teams and had the best field goal percentage in the league. Here they are a week later and can’t find the basket.
Three point shooting has been a problem lately for the Celtics. Rasheed Wallace could not miss from outside when the season started. Now he appears to be forcing his outside shot. Eddie House has lost his touch as of late. And Ray Allen can’t find his stroke. He looks reluctant to shoot and that’s not a good thing if for a pure shooter like Allen.
Everything for this team starts on the defensive end. The Celtics are a great fast break team with Rajon Rondo pushing the ball but in order to get the break started, the Celtics have to rebound the ball well. Rebounding has been a problem for the Celtics lately, giving up far too many offensive boards. Team defense has been an issue too. Guys have been standing around looking at one another instead of working together to force teams to take bad shots.
But playing the Knicks should have easily uplifted the Celtics’ spirits; after all…it’s the Knicks. However, the Knicks came to play. The Celtics opened up an early lead against the Knicks. A lead the Celtics blew in the 3rd quarter. They were up by as many as 14 points, but the Knicks climbed their way back into the game. The Knicks had the lead at the end of the 3rd quarter. At the end of 3, Knicks 82 Celtics 77.
The Knicks extended their lead in the 4th quarter. When it’s the 4th quarter and the Celtics need some big shots, they turn to Paul Pierce. Pierce was magnificent this game. He finished with 33 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. Pierce was forced to carry the team on his back. Ray Allen and KG had a terrible night shooting the ball. Allen shot 3 for 13 from the field, 1 for 6 from beyond the arc. KG wasn’t much better, shooting 4 for 15 from the field. Rasheed off the bench finished with zero points. But despite the poor shooting, the Celtics held a 2 point lead after a KG jumper with a minute to go. After some sloppy play by both teams over the final minute, Harrington forced a foul. Harrington made both free throws to send the game into overtime. End of 4th quarter, Celtics 98 Knicks 98.
In overtime, the game plan was simple. Give the ball to Pierce and get the hell out of the way. Piece would score 7 points in OT, but the Knicks still hung in there. With 9.3 seconds left, David Lee dunked the ball in tying the game at 105-105. Out of the timeout, the play went to Pierce. Pierce with the game on the line did the right thing. He drew a double team and kicked the ball out to KG for an open jumper. And just before the buzzer went off, KG drilled the game winner.
Boston hosts the 76ers on Wednesday night. Hopefully, the Celtics can string together some wins this week. I’m sure Coach Rivers will be working the team hard over the next couple of days. The Celtics are all about defensive stops and if they improve on that end of the ball, the offense will improve with it. Bottom line, today’s win was a big win for the Celtics. Any win they can get right now is a good win, even if it takes OT to beat the Knicks.
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Written by johnw