They probably didn’t deserve to win. Boston sleep walked through the first half of Monday night’s battle with the struggling Knicks but stifled New York in the game’s final three minutes to pull out a 96-86 victory. Kevin Garnett delivered a vintage performance and continued his dominance over New York this season with 24 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 steals. Rajon Rondo came back to life after a 5 game disappearing act with 13 points and 12 assists, while Paul Pierce keyed the comeback in the 4th quarter finishing with 21 points on 8-13 shooting. It was ugly, it was brutal, and it was bloody. But most importantly it was a win!
Early on it looked like another mail it in performance from team green. The Celtics offense sputtered and the bench again struggled to find continuity on either end of the floor. Carmelo and the Knicks were hot, hitting shots from various angles and getting a few questionable tweets from the refs. I clearly remember seeing Amare on the sideline waving his towel in the 2nd quarter as the Knicks looked like a team ready to put their proverbial foot on the throat of the Celtics. I remember thinking to myself his antics seemed a bit premature for a team that doesn’t play defense but everything was going the Knicks way. The physical nature of this contest was felt by all. Troy Murphy received the first blow as he received a bloody nose in only 2 minutes of action in the first half. Glen Davis was knocked to the ground by a Carmelo elbow to which no foul was called. Davis stayed anchored to ground until Boston gained possession again and called a timeout. Nevertheless the Knicks were tougher, faster, more physical and just flat out more aggressive than Boston and deserved the questionable calls they were receiving. New York lead 51-37 at halftime holding the Celtics to an abysmal 35%.
In the third quarter Boston, or should I say Garnett, rallied to make the game somewhat more interesting. KG scored the first 8 Celtic points in the 3rd trying to inspire his lackluster teammates to join him in the charge. Ray Allen had to leave the game after being cut above his eye courtesy of inadverntent Jared Jeffries elbow. Seemed to be a lot of those going around in this game. Garnett finished a dunk over Rony Turiaf in the quarter that seemed to wake the Celtics up after he delivered his trademark scream and customary expletives following the jam.
His battle cry was met with some response as the Celtics climbed to within 6 as the third quarter closed on a Davis reverse layup from Rondo at quarter’s buzzer. 69-63 New York.
Once the the 4th quarter commenced it was the Boston team with championship aspirations that took the Garden floor. Determined to play through all adversity you could literally see the body language of team green change. All of a sudden Boston was interested and seemed to take offense at the mere notion of the Knicks aspirations of a win. Defensive rotations began to take form, Pierce took control bullying Knick defenders on every possession. With the game knotted at 86, Rondo received a pass on an inbound where Carmelo tried to intercept. The result was not an interception but rather a Celtic basket and a cut over Anthony’s left eye. The final wound of the evening. That basket gave the Celtics the lead for good and keyed the way to an improbable come back victory.
While not every night in the NBA can be a breeze the Celtics continue to lack the energy needed to start games against any opponent, lesser or otherwise. This seemed to be a case of the team not caring until they received multiple blows, repeated bad calls, and taunts from the Knicks faithful. Then all of a sudden, light bulb! That said this win shows the character the team has when it remembers what the goal is. No blood, no foul! Memphis is next on Wednesday night.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com