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The Boston Celtics looked like a rejuvenated team in Connecticut Saturday, taking down the New York Knickerbockers 97-84. They found new life while retaining much of their skills and other aspects from the previous year, including breath-taking maneuvering and (unfortunately) poor three-point defense and crooked referees.
Both teams traded punches and dunks, going back and forth until the Knicks managed to jump out in front by eight, but Boston was kept in it early by Kevin Garnett, who had 11 points in 9:19 of playing time in the opening quarter. After 12 minutes, Boston trailed just 30-29.
Boston continued their momentum, building up a five-point lead in the next quarter. Nate Robinson had a fun-looking, jumping, come-from-behind block attempt, and would’ve gotten credit if Semih Erden hadn’t committed a foul just before. However, the teams pretty much reversed roles in the 2nd quarter, thanks to New York’s 5/13 stat from three-point range. That kept New York’s halftime lead at one, 45-44.
Now here’s where Tommy Heinsohn had one of his trademarked myocardial infarction and cerebrovascular accident combos. New York pushed their lead to 11, not due to their play or Boston’s mistakes, but thanks to terrible officiating, just like what was present in previous seasons. Think if Jim Joyce reffed basketball. Rajon Rondo took a blatant charge that was called blocking, then was elbowed in the face on an accident that wasn’t called, remaining down for some time, leaving, and coming back later.
On top of that, Shaq was called for charging when his man’s feet were clearly moving, and KG was called for a foul when his man simply flopped, as if it were a soccer match. Down 68-57, the Celtics didn’t have much hope, especially with the refs against them. But despite everyone’s best efforts, Boston couldn’t be put down.
In a span of 3:02, Boston scored 14 straight points to take a 71-68 lead, and led 76-72 after the 3rd. The Knicks just couldn’t keep up from that point on. The Celtics kept on taking the fight to the Knicks with their aggressive play, which was apparently after the refs got their foul quota in for the day, and cruised their way to victory; 50 points in the paint will do that for you.
Garnett’s 1st quarter performance was impressive, and he had another one in the 3rd, good for a total of 20 points and four boards.
In the interest of giving this spot to someone, let’s pick on the guy that compiled just a steal and a turnover in 8:28; he attempted no shots from the field or the charity stripe.
“Deep pockets in new york … get those bankers!” – Tommy Heinsohn, discussing how the Knicks were unable to insure Amare Stoudemire’s $100 million contract due to his knee problems.