Remember when Paul Pierce said last year that the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics should not be considered a rivalry?
It is time to lay that statement to bed as the two teams put on a heart stopping classic back and forth game that ended with a Celtics 91-89 win. Paul Pierce continued his excellent play leading all scorers with 30 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. Kevin Garnett scored 15 and grabbed 8 rebounds with one of those rebounds giving him his 10,000th career defensive board.
The fourth quarter of this game saw the Celtics rally behind Pierce and Ray Allen who had 9 of his 14 in the quarter. Both teams played sloppy down the stretch and tempers flared on multiple calls from the referees. Boston thought they had the game in hand when Pierce nailed a 3 with the shot clock winding down that would have gave the Celtics a 93-89 lead with 14 seconds remaining. Upon further review the call was overturned (rightfully so) and Boston’s lead was reduced to 90-89 giving the Knicks possession.
Landry Fields missed a wide open corner three, Pierce corralled the board and was promptly fouled making one of two pushing the lead to 91-89.
Coach D’Antoni, who has been under heavy fire for the Knicks recent slippage, head scratchingly inserted Steve Novak into the game on the Knicks’ final possession with 4 seconds left to play. Naturally Novak, who hadn’t played a minute in the game up to that point, got the final shot and missed an off balance three fading to his left in the corner sealing the Celtics comeback victory.
Carmelo Anthony lead the Knicks with 26 points, Tyson Chandler double doubled with 20 points and 11 rebounds, and A’mare Stoudemire also chipped in 16 points and 11 rebounds. Nevertheless it was Novak who attempted the final shot.
If you would have told the Celtics that Novak would be taking the game winning shot for the Knicks, I am sure you would have heard a collective “Please and thank you!”.
The Knicks have now lost 11 of their last 13 games inexplicably and fall to 8-15 on the season.
Boston limited New York to just 34 points in the second half and improved to 12-10 on the season. Lost in the commotion of this game was the return of Rajon Rondo. The Celtics point guard had missed 8 straight games with a lingering wrist injury but gutted out 34 minutes tonight in his return.
This renewed rivalry will resume on March 4 when the two teams meet again.
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