If there was ever a championship performance blueprint then this 113-96 Boston Celtic victory would and should be in the plans for the C’s. Boston led from the opening tip to the closing buzzer drilling 14 threes, out-rebounding the Knicks 43-33 and suffocating New York’s will to play right out of Madison Square Garden. Paul Pierce had 38 points, Ray Allen scored 32 while Rajon Rondo triple doubled with 15 points, 20 assists, and 11 rebounds.
The Celtics came out like a house on fire sensing the need to take the raucous New York crowd out of the game early. It was a blitz both offensively and defensively as the Celtics jumped out to an early 22-5 lead in the first quarter. Paul Pierce took his captain role seriously leading the charge by frustrating Carmelo Anthony early and leading all scorers with 14 in the first quarter. Doc Rivers got a little comfortable and rested some of the starters early only to watch the bench let the lead dwindle. Again! Boston got outscored 15-5 in final minutes of the quarter to take a 27-20 lead into the 2nd quarter.
New York drew to within 5 behind the sharp shooting of Shawne Williams. You read correctly. Williams was a perfect 4-4 scoring 10 points in the quarter. He was the catalyst for a Knick bench that scored 25 points in the first half. The Boston starters re-entered and played New York about even the res t of quarter taking a 52-44 lead into half time. Pierce had 17 followed by Ray Allen who had 16 to pace the Celtics in the first 24 minutes. The first half was sloppy with the teams combining for 25 turnovers. Boston contributed the majority of those turnovers with 14 and could easily have had a 15 point or more lead if they had taken care of the orange.
The third quarter opened with more sloppy play and the Knicks seemed defenseless and uninterested. Pierce and Allen continued their deep shooting attacks and pushed the Celtic lead to 13 with 8:42 left in the quarter. Boston’s lead ballooned to 21 with just under 4 minutes left to play at 77-56. The Celtics finally showed some killer instinct sensing the Knicks frustration and ratcheted up their trademark defense holding New York to 19 in the period. The once lively and spirited New York audience greeted the Knicks with boos as they walked to the New York bench down 86-63 going into the fourth quarter.
New York opened the 4th quarter with Jared Jeffries , Landry Fields, Bill Walker, Toney Douglas and Shawne Williams and wouldn’t you know it, that lineup cut the lead to 16 in the opening minutes. Coach D’Antoni went to the Knicks on his roster that actually showed an interest in playing and it paid dividends, at least for a short while. All night it was Pierce, Allen, and Rondo who would thwart any Knick attempted comeback. The Boston starters finished the game on the bench sharing stories and laughs taking a commanding 3-0 lead in this best of 7 series. Game 4 is Sunday where the Celtics will be looking to bring out the broom to sweep the Knicks out of the Garden.
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