Paul Pierce's isolation end of game play has seen some triumph and some heartache. Tonight, we got the former, despite an almost heart attack 3pter attempted by Stoudemire, which went in with .4 seconds left. However, upon review it was shown the basket didn't count.
This game started out ugly, and continued to be that way pretty much until the last 3 minutes of the third quarter. The Celtics looked like they were finally getting their feet under them in the second quarter, cutting an 8 point deficit after the first to 2 points midway through the second, only to fall back to 7 to close out the half behind a Raymond Felton buzzer beater for 3.
Amar'e Stoudemire could score from pretty much anywhere tonight, and Gallinari really started to heat up in the second, but the Celtics proved themselves to be the stronger team mentally, tying it up at 8:30 left in the 4th after Ray Allen hit home a technical. The Knicks started to build up another lead soon after, but the teams traded buckets back and fourth with the Celtics finally getting even at 1:29 left in the 4th with 1 foul to give.
The Celtics never let the Knicks have the lead again, with Paul Pierce hitting the game winner at .4 seconds left in the half.
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Stoudemire had 23 points by the end of the first half, and ended with a pretty impressive 39 points and 10 boards. He can literally score from anywhere; maybe the most dangerous PF in the game right now offensively.
Raymond Felton played like an absolute monster tonight, which brings me to my next point.
Rondo turned his ankle in the third quarter and looked to be done for the game. Even before then however he was playing like he was pretty hurt. He was hesitant, he looked a step slow, and really overall just lacked the explosiveness you expect from him. He finished with a respectable 10pts and 14asts, but he also turned the ball over 6 times, and multiple times was seen arguing with Doc when Doc was asking him if he needed to come out. No question the kid is a warrior, but I wonder if maybe we would've been better served if he would've sat.
Nate Robinson really answered the call in Rondo's absence, and was a huge part of the comeback effort in the 4th. Some big shots, some timely passes, and good defense on Felton for portions of the game, Nate was the better point tonight for the C's which speaks less probably for Nate's overall ability but more for Rondo's injury.
The Captain was just on fire tonight. He hit the game winner, but beyond that he was 10-18 from the field and a perfect 10-10 from the line. In fact, the entire Celtics team was perfect from the line, finishing at 21-21.
That's a great thing, because the FT's were a little wacky tonight in their distribution. Nobody likes saying the refs had anything to do with a game. Its a cop-out. That said, there was a pretty big free throw discrepancy and it was not because the C's weren't going to the rack. At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Knicks had 3 more FT's attempted in just the third than the Celtics had in the entire game until that point. However, much of that discrepency was made up in the 4th, with the Knicks finishing with only 5 more FT's attempted by games end.
Garnett's leadership tonight was on full display. While his box score of 20pts and 13 boards is undeniably great, his intensity was what kept the Celtics going when they were down. Garnett after the half just really started taking the game personally, and it showed in the final score.
Glen Davis drew another charge tonight, bringing him by my count to 29 for the season.
The Knicks 116 points is the most points allowed by the C's all season up until this point.