Round 2 goes to New York.
The Knicks defeated the Celtics in Boston for the first time since 2006 Thursday night, beating them 89-86. The hype of the game was Carmelo vs. KG, but besides pre game fist pump, the two kept to themselves the whole game. What Knicks fans can take away from the game is the resurgence of Amar’e Stoudemire who scored 15 points off the bench with 9 rebounds.
It was a game of runs the entire game but the Knicks opened the gap early in the 4th with a 15-4 run. Carmelo started off cold then started to heat up, going 6-8 from the field at one point, finishing with 28 points. Mike Woodson continues to try and figure out his rotation but Pablo Prigioni made his case that he is very valuable to this team. With a very efficient stat line of 16 minutes, 2-3 from three-point land, 4 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 turnover and a +/- of +8. The Knicks needed productivity out of the point guard especially with Raymond Felton out and going against one of the league’s best in Rajon Rondo.
Besides a triple-double out of Rondo and 22 out of Paul Pierce, the Knicks defense pretty much shut down every other Celtic, not having any other player score more in double digits (Jeff Green had 9). If you watched the game, the story of the game was Amar’e Stoudemire. Carmelo is going to have his point but Amar’e showed the fans, his teammates, and most importantly Mike Woodson that he is ready for more minutes and possibly to start. He had the highest +/- on the team tonight with +11. He also added defense with 2 blocks and second change opportunities with 4 offensive rebounds. He looked explosive, loose, and ready to play like the Amar’e we know and love.
J.R. Smith had another one of those “why did he just take that shot” nights, going an abysmal 3-16 from the field. You can say all you want but no shot was bigger than the three he hit with 1:11 left in the 4th, giving the Knicks a five-point lead and ultimately being the difference maker in the game. Smith also had two huge defensive plays down the stretch, causing two Celtics turnovers very late in the game. Smith might have had a chip on his shoulder about of what he thinks is a All-Star snub, finding out before the game he will not be joining teammates Carmelo Anthony and first time All-Star Tyson Chandler in Houston.
When the Celtics had the ball with 13 seconds left down three, I’m sure I wasn’t the only Knicks fan waiting for Paul Pierce to rise from the three-point line at the elbow extended and hit the dagger to send it into overtime. But it didn’t happen. The Celtics didn’t even get a shot off in their last two possessions because of suffocating Knicks defense. A site Knicks fans aren’t used to seeing.
The Knicks get a defining road win on national TV and head to Philly to take on the 76ers for a Saturday night Atlantic Division matchup.
By the way, the last time the Knicks beat the Celtics in Boston, Bill Simmons called for Doc Rivers’ to get fired and wanted to draft Greg Oden. Don’t believe me?
I think things worked out for the better…