Friday, February 3, 2012

Celtics 91, Knicks 89 - Recap

Were you expecting anything different? If you've watched any Knicks-Celtics game over the past year and a half, it always follows the same script, or at least a very similar one. In fact, if you've watched the Knicks at all over the last two years, you knew what was coming.

Through nearly three quarters, the Knicks ran an efficent offense, moving the ball, making smart passes, and getting second chances from offensive rebounds. But when the Celtics started to tighten up their D, and beat the Knicks to every loose ball, mainly rebounds, you knew what was ahead: the inevitable comeback.

There was some questionable coaching decisions and really, just some poor execution down the stretch. Take the jump for some notes.

At one point in the 3rd quarter, the Knicks were up by 10 points and looked like they were going to blow it out at any moment. Knowing these Knicks however, it wasn't going to happen, especially against such a stable, savvy team like the Celtics. Some knuts and bolts came loose and the wheels rolled off.

That Was Good!

 - Carmelo Anthony played a wonderful game through three quarters. At halftime, he had 15 points and 4 assists, and it was no doubt his active participation in moving the ball was a big reason for New York's surprisingly nice offense. But he was oddly silent in the 4th quarter - I can only recall one botched layup from Melo. Boston did make damn sure that they made someone else shoot though, and Melo made the right plays by passing out of double teams. He did so twice, once to a wiiide open Iman Shumpert, and another on a swing that hit an open Landry Fields. Both times it resulted in a miss 3-pointer. 26 points and 6 assists for Anthony.

 - Tyson Chandler vastly outplayed every one of Boston's big men, and even his his first basket outside of the paint all season! Down the stretch though, he looked tired and it's a possible reason for Boston's comeback after an orgy of offensive rebounds. Tyson still had 20 points and 11 boards though and did some splendid things on offense and defense.

That Wasn't So Good

 - Mike D'Antoni gave Jeremy Lin some spin in the first half and got better results than he did from Toney Douglas. Lin at least was able to get to the paint and get his teammates the ball. For some reason though, D'Antoni opted to play Toney in the third quarter. In 8 minutes, the Knicks lead went from nine to zero and Douglas missed all of his shots. I like the dude and want him to do well, but I'd be happy if he didn't get any more playing time.

 - Down two, with five seconds left, the Knicks tried to run a play to get Melo or Shumpert the ball, but the Celtics' D denied them. With time running out to get the ball in, Fields was forced to throw it to Steve Novak who was acting as a decoy. Novak chucked up a turn-around airball 3, with a few ticks still on the clock, and that was all she wrote.

 - The Knicks 4th quarter offense was honestly the worst I'd seen it all season. They were running plays 40 feet from the basket as Boston just denied any dribble penetration or screens. 34 total second half points after 55 first half points. I sort of wished they could just do walk-through sets and let Baron Davis hold Shumpert's hand and guide him through the motions.

Odds and Ends

 - Stoudemire did alright, but he wasn't great either. 16 points on 7-15 shooting with 11 boards. His jumpshot looks a lot better from two or three weeks ago, though.

 - The game-changing play was when Fields got a defensive rebound, with the score tied, and had the ball knocked out of his hands and out of bounds by Rajon Rondo. The refs missed it however, and gave the Celtics the ball back. Ray Allen then hit a 3, to which Mike D'Antoni screamed at the refs something along the lines of "it's our ball!" He got a technical and the Celts went up 4 points and didn't look back.

 - 9 points for the Knicks bench. That should probably be under the bad section, but whatever.

New Jersey Nets tomorrow back at MSG. The Knicks are now 8-15, and it isn't looking so pretty.

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