There are a number of ways to look at the Celtics 115-111 overtime win against the Knicks Sunday afternoon. One such way is that of the over used and over hyped phrase “statement game”.
Not a statement so much from the Boston Celtics but rather from Rajon Rondo who has been the subject of numerous trade rumors in the last week.
The elite point guard put up one of the chunkiest triple doubles in NBA history with 18 points, 20 assists and 17 rebounds in the Boston win.
Rondo, Wilt Chamberlain, and Oscar Robertson are the only players to have had triple doubles with 15-15-20 or more over three categories in NBA history.
That is a remarkable statistic to be mentioned alongside Chamberlain and Robertson. Simply remarkable.
The game itself was one of runs and multiple heroes. Both teams looked about as good as they could for stretches of the game then took turns looking like the worst teams in basketball during other stretches.
Paul Pierce had a season high 34 points with 7 rebounds. He also hit a huge three towards the end of regulation to tie the game at 103-103 sending the contest into overtime. Carmelo Anthony did his best to gain control of the game for the Knicks finishing with 25 points and 7 rebounds. His play in the 4th quarter nearly stole the game away from Boston but he missed a tough fade away at the end of regulation that would have given the Knicks the win.
New York’s second unit kept them in the game until the 4th quarter where Melo and A’mare Stoudemire (16 points & 11 rebounds) were able to step up. Iman Shumpert, Steve Novak, and Baron Davis lived up to the billing Coach D’Antoni gave them recently. “To be honest, the last couple of days in practice, that group (the second unit) has just kicked our first group’s butt every day” said D’Antoni a few days ago. He went on to add that he would not be afraid to limit the starters minutes and allow the second unit extended time on the court going forward and he did today.
Shumpert and Novak each had 14 points with Davis adding 8 points and 7 assists. Their effect on the game was profound especially Shumpert who attacked the Celtics weak interior while Novak drained 4 threes on Boston’s slow rotations.
The Celtics were able to subdue the “Linsanity” hype luring Lin into early foul trouble. Lin salvaged a respectable overall line with 14 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds but he also committed 6 turnovers. He played fairly well down the stretch but was regularly taken to task by Rondo on the evening.
For Boston Kevin Garnett double doubled for the 7th time in the last 9 games racking up 18 points and 10 rebounds while Brandon Bass chipped in 18 points of his own. The team took a season high 103 field goal attempts and showed incredible resilience to gut out the win.
Still the story of the game was Rondo and his amazing performance. After the game Rondo said he thinks the trade rumors have helped his play and he is just trying to be the best teammate he can be. There have never been any questions about Rondo’s ability to play but questions of his attitude are what have had Danny Ainge fielding phone calls on his availability recently.
It is unclear whether after today’s performance if the phone will stop ringing or if the deals on the other end of the phone will get that much sweeter.
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