The 2010-11 regular season goes into the books with a tiny thud as the Knicks lose a semi-meaningless game to Boston four days before the two teams meet in the first round. I say “semi” meaningless because even though between these two teams Amar’e Stoudemire was the only impact player who saw the court, the Celtics bench players—who had been struggling—were given a little confidence boost. But it isn’t something to read into or worry too much about. Take the jump to read more ’bout it.* So Amar’e Stoudemire not only started the game, but played the entire first quarter and then eight more minutes in the third. He looked a little awkward from the start, almost like a player who felt guilty dominating inferior competition. Early in the first quarter he missed on a wide open dunk. This is Amar’e Stoudemire we’re talking about, one of the surest most definitive dunkers in league history. It was a weird thing to see. For his first quarter appearance he looked lackadaisical and barely interested, but by the third he was game, attacking the glass, tipping in his own missed shots and aggressively charging the hoop. Stoudemire finished 6-15 with 14 points.
* Landry Fields began the game with one of his trademark pull up 10 footers in transition, and drained it. I love when he takes this shot, mostly because it’s him being comfortable and playing within himself. Fields actually led the team in scoring with 16 points and seven rebounds (tying Derrick Brown for the team lead as well). He put a nice little in and out dribble shimmy on Sasha Pavlovic that I didn’t know he had in the repertoire. Apparently, Dwyane Wade is the only guard who hauled down more boards than Landry this season, which is a pretty ridiculous, needs-to-be-discussed-more statistic. He also put up 12 shots tonight, which could equal his total for the month of March.
* There were a few skirmishes in this one. The first came by way of a Bill Walker sack tap on Pavlovic, and it was pretty funny (until I realized the result was a four point play for the Celtics). Then Nenad Krstic and Shawne Williams had some choice words over a rough and tough box out, but overall most of this stuff was just boys being boys.
* Ronny Turiaf got the start over Shelden Williams (who didn’t play at all in the first half and seemed to have mildly hurt his ankle late in the game), and if you read this site regularly you know I like this decision. Williams brings a pretty consistent 15 footer from the baseline to the table, but apart from that there’s really nothing he can contribute—besides six fouls—that Turiaf can’t handle. Turiaf went 4-5 from the floor and actually created some of those shots on his own off the dribble.
* The Celtics shot 60% from the floor in the first half, with Avery Bradley as their leading scorer. They also had six players in double figures for the night. Both are great signs.
* The game was actually a pretty even back and forth contest…until the second half. It was eerily similar to last night’s game against the Bulls. After watching both, I’d have to say Jeffries played himself out of the playoff rotation and Anthony Carter may have squeezed himself in. The little veteran’s solid, and doesn’t strike me as one to melt under the postseason’s bright spotlight. He finished with nine points and six assists in 20 minutes. Not that I’m saying he should receive more minutes or anything crazy, but for comparative purposes, in 31 minutes, Toney Douglas had eight and five. Also, Bill Walker should definitely be in.