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If you just asked yourself the question “Did I read that title correctly?”, you may not be the only one. Yes, the Boston Celtics barely beat out the now 3-10 New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden Sunday afternoon in a 107-105 victory, and it took them until overtime at the buzzer to do it. Sounds a little strange to hear that, but it’s also not surprising, seeing how they lost three of the last four games before today.
The Celtics are struggling, and they are struggling against teams like the lowly Knicks. You may also assume that either Paul Pierce or Ray Allen shot the buzzer-beater, but nope, it was Kevin Garnett. I am sure the Knicks would’ve thought Allen or Pierce would be taking the final shot as well, good thing Garnett did.
While Garnett made the game-winning shot, it was Pierce who led the team for the entire game, scoring a season-high 33 points off of 9-for-17 shooting and 6-for-7 from beyond the arc. He also chipped in nine rebounds, six assists, two blocks and a steal. Also having a big game for the Celtics was Kendrick Perkins, who had 16 points off of 6-for-7 shooting while adding 13 rebounds and four blocks.
The Celtics needed a win more than anything today, not just because they were playing the Knicks, but because of their play as of late. With Friday’s loss still hanging on the team, Doc Rivers and the C’s really needed a win, even if it was in overtime against the Knicks.
The Knicks had nothing to lose in this game and had everything to win. So with Mike D’Antoni’s score-all-you-can approach, the Knicks were able to come back after being down by three at the half and down by eight after the first quarter. The Knicks outscored the Celtics 29-21 in the third quarter to go up by five entering the fourth. Boston then played strong defense in the fourth and only allowed 16 points by New York, while they were able to score 21 themselves.
The Knicks actually shot a better percentage then the Celtics as they went 43.2% for the game and the Celtics shot 41.7%. Both teams made 10 three-pointers, but the Knicks (10-for-30) took five more than the C’s (10-for-25). Other than that all the other stats were fairly equal, except for the bench scoring in which the Knicks blew out the Celtics 55-21 in that category. For the Knicks though, they have players on the bench that could easily start, and starters who could come off the bench, so that stat is not as important as it is for other teams.
Other than Pierce, the Big Three struggled for most the game as Allen only scored 13 points while going 3-for-13 from the field and 1-for-6 for three. Garnett finished with 10 points after shooting 4-for-15 while adding seven rebounds. Rajon Rondo nearly missed out on a triple-double as he scored 14 points (5-for-13), grabbed nine boards and dished out 10 assists; he also had four steals on the game.
For the Knicks, Al Harrington led the team with 30 points off the bench, going 10-for-21 from the field and 5-for-10 from beyond the arc. Harrington also added nine rebounds. David Lee also continued getting his usual double-double as he scored 22 points (7-for-12) and grabbed 15 rebounds. Nate Robinson also chipped in 19 points off the bench as he shot 7-for-11 on the game and 3-for-6 from downtown.
The Knicks, along with other teams like the Orlando Magic, Golden State Warriors, and Phoenix Suns , can score a lot of points and those are the teams that seem to be giving the Celtics the most trouble. As we all know, the Suns and Magic beat out the C’s, and the Knicks came very close as well. I thought we had the best defense in the league, but by giving up over a hundred points in multiple games, it might be time for Doc Rivers to put a stronger emphasis on defense again.
We next play the Philadelphia 76ers at home on Wednesday. It will be the Celtics’ ninth home game of the year as we hold a record of 5-3 at home, as opposed to a 5-1 record on the road. If the Celtics continue to struggle at home, then it might be a very long season.