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Celtics Fall to Knicks in Christmas Day Opener 106-104

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks

The Boston Celtics and New York Knicks opened the NBA season in New York today, the Knicks won a close one 106-104 over the Celtics. Paul Pierce sat out this game with a bruised heel, Sasha Pavlovic started in his place.

The Celtics got off to a slow start but turned it around in the second and third quarters. The Knick offense out played the Celtic offense in the final few minutes and was the difference in this game.

First Quarter

At the end of one quarter the Knicks had a 34-23 lead over the Celtics. Rajon Rondo played the best basketball out of any Celtic player for the first. Rondo was 2-5 from the field but went 5-6 from the free throw line finishing with nine points in the first. Avery Bradley, Marquis Daniels, Keyon Dooling, Brandon Bass, and Chris Wilcox were the guys off the bench that got some early playing time. Carmelo Anthony led the way for the Knicks with nine points in the first.

Second Quarter

The Knicks opened up a 17 point lead about halfway through the quarter. The Celtic offense looked lost at times without Pierce. Amare Stoudemire hit his second three-point shot of the game and now looks like he is in that phase of his career where his style of play changes. The Celtics cut the lead down to ten entering halftime down 62-52. Bass and Rondo lead the Celtics in the second and were the only reason the Celtics had a chance. Kevin Garnett played 21 first half minutes; Doc Rivers planned on him playing only around 15 in the first half.

Third Quarter

Ray Allen joined the party in the third hitting back to back shots in a 14-2 run by the Celtics to tie the game with seven minutes left in the third. Rondo was a huge part of the run in the transition game, getting out ahead of the ball and causing problems for the Knicks. Bass again brought more energy grabbing offensive rebounds and really scoring from all over the floor. The Celtics took a 87 -79 lead into the fourth quarter after outscoring the Knicks 35-17 in the third.

Fourth Quarter

Anthony sat out most of the third with foul trouble but came back in for the start of the fourth and took over the Knick offense. The Celtics had a two point lead with about six minutes left in the game, free throws helped the Knicks creep back into the game. The final five minutes was back and forth with each team hitting open and contested jump shots. The Knicks re-gained a two point lead with under two minutes when Anthony hit a jumper, the Celtics came right back and ties it up again. The Knicks had the ball in a tie game with 58 seconds left. Anthony made two free throws making it 106-104 with 16 seconds left. The Celtics had the ball with a chance to tie or win it andGarnett got a good look at the buzzer, but couldn’t hit it. Final score: Knicks 106 – Celtics 104.

Rondo and Bass were the two stand-outs for Boston. Rondo finished with 31 points, 13 assists and five steals. Bass finished with 20 points and eleven rebounds off the bench. Rondo looks like he is now confident in shooting the ball when he’s open. If Rondo can hit the open jump shot, then teams will have to change the way they defend him.

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