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There was no funeral like the Knicks hoped.
Led by Kevin Garnett’s 16 points and 18 rebounds, five Celtics contributed double figures in a 92-86 win over the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.
Carmelo Anthony once again struggled on offense going against Jeff Green and Brandon Bass. Anthony finished with 22 points on just 8-for-24 shooting. Raymond Felton led the charge for the Knicks and finished with 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.
If Garnett was the rock for the Celtics throughout the game, then everyone else took turns taking the reigns of the offense in each quarter. The Knicks opened the game 11-0, but Bass would not let the Celtics fold and scored 9 of the team’s first 11 points.
In the second quarter when the Celtics offense stalled, Paul Pierce calmly drained two threes in an 80 second stretch to lead the Celtics to a 45-39 halftime lead. Pierce struggled from the field Wednesday, but ultimately hit the shots that mattered.
Jason Terry took his turn in the third and scored eight of his 17 in the period. Terry was the catalyst for a hot shooting night from three point range for the Celtics and finished with five of the Celtics’ 11 made threes. The Celtics shot 50 percent from deep on the game.
With the Celtics defense locked in and their offense struggling to manufacture points in the fourth quarter yet again, Green stepped up and took his turn scoring the basketball. Green scored eight straight for the Celtics and answered every Knick basket to help his team hang on late in the game.
Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith sure talked a lot of trash before Wednesday’s game, lucky for the Celtics, they couldn’t back it up. Smith single handily shot the Knicks out of the game with an abysmal, 3-for-14 shooting performance. Martin had just two points and two rebounds, and committed five fouls in a mere 13 minutes.
The Celtics won this game with hustle and smarts, the two things they’ve laid their odds with the last few seasons. Boston out-rebounded New York, 41-39, and assisted on 20 of their 32 made field goals. The Celtics also made all 17 of their free-throw attempts.
Avery Bradley did not play in the last 19 minutes of the game as Doc Rivers chose to send Terrence Williams out as the Celtics main sub for the Terry and the other four starters, crunch-time lineup. Williams has moved up the depth chart past Jordan Crawford and Courtney Lee, and seems to be the only Celtic that can keep Felton out of the paint.
The Celtics will head back to Boston with a ton of confidence for game six on Friday, but will the aging bodies of Garnett, Pierce and Terry be able to go with maximum effort after all playing over 35 minutes on Wednesday? Doc Rivers perhaps said it best after Rajon Rondo was lost for the season, “You can write our obituary, I won’t.”