Some quick bullets on another disturbing affair as the Celtics escape MSG with an overtime win against the lowly Knicks.
Not sure where to begin with this one, but since it’s a win let’s start with the good, Paul Pierce. He single handily carried the load in 1st half, lighting it up from downtown (4/4). With the rest of the offense struggling in the 2nd half and overtime, Pierce dominated the possessions in the 2nd half a la the pre Big Three era. Give him credit for still trusting his teammates down the stretch and staying unselfish which ultimately resulted in the game winning open jumper created by Pierce’s penetration. Pierce did work all over the floor with 9 boards, 6 assists, 2 blocks and a steal to go along with his 33 points. Kudos to The Captain.
With all that said, the Celtics offense for the vast majority of this game, especially the 2nd half was downright awful. (except for the first 6 minutes of the 3rd quarter) Everything seemed out of sync with miserable shooting nights turned in once again by Ray Allen, KG, and Rasheed Wallace who combined for 7/32 shooting for the afternoon. The vast majority of those shots were open looks as well. Despite the struggles, KG and Ray came through with a couple big hoops down the stretch but overall this offensive unit is in a rut, looking terrible for long stretches against one of the worst defensive teams in the league.
If you want to know just how important of a catalyst Rajon Rondo is to this offense, just take a look at this game. When he was out and running in transition, attacking the basket, the C’s looked like a formidable foe that could not be stopped. When he got tentative though, and the C’s had to settle into a half court game, there could be no rhythm going. Despite the great line (14 points, 10 assists, 9 rebounds, 4 steals) very up and down performance today offensively from the 4th year point guard.
The free throw struggles for Rondo also continue (4/8 from line). Sad to say it, but that actually brought his season average up from the line. How disturbing is that?
Perk had himself a nice efficient game offensively going 6 of 7 from the field for 15 points. It’s amazing how far he has come in finishing around the basket, as he had a couple nice up and under moves for easy layups off of good passes from Rondo. With inconsistent outside shooting disrupting the C’s right now, it was good to see Perk become a more consistent force down low.
A few words on KG before we go here. First, this was probably his worst game mobility wise this year. He looked like The Chief at the tail end of his career, gingering laboring up and down both ends of the floor. Watching him guard Al Harrington on the perimeter was painful at times, seeing the smaller more athletic forward blow by The Big Ticket repeatedly, while Garnett had to resort to strips and some luck to keep Harrington in line. KG also came down on his knee off failed alley oop attempt from Pierce at the end of the 4th quarter and appeared to be laboring even more after that. I have been as optimistic as anyone about seeing KG return to a form vaguely reminiscent of his abilities pre knee injury, but days like this made it painfully clear that he is a long way away from those days returning and it’s doubtful he ever will. All that said, it was great to see him knock down that game winning jumper after such a tough day shooting.
Al Harrington kills this C’s team everytime they play them in MSG. The C’s just didn’t have anyone who could guard him. Nate Robinson also had a great offensive performance for the Knicks off the bench but didn’t see the floor down the stretch. Interesting decision by D’Antoni there.
Good to see Eddie House hit a couple 3’s in the first half, but he too struggle from the floor, missing several open looks in the 2nd half.
Eddy Curry was actually a positive offensive factor for The Knicks for a few minutes of this game, drawing a number of fouls from the C’s big man that allowed NY to get into the penalty with over 6 minutes left in the 4th quarter. His immaturity however arrived on the scene with authority as he blatantly shoved Rondo from behind showing his frustration after not getting a foul call on a shot down low. Some things don’t change
Liked the move by C’s to try to sneak Ray Allen to the line to take Rondo’s flagrant foul free throws. Unfortunately the refs were not on top of it.
Pretty terrible last minute of officiating at the end of regulation as the crew gave the Knicks a makeup call of all makeup calls by calling an offensive foul on Ray Allen trying to escape a trap in the corner. Just awful.
Celtics last possession of regulation with Rondo dribbling patiently 35 feet from the hoop until there was one second left was painful to watch. It clearly was a play that fell apart with no one coming to the ball in time for Rondo to pass it to, but the guy can not have the ball in his hands at that point, since he to be 0 for 30 on last second shots in his career.
That’s enough for now, much more to come after the Pats finishing their destruction of the Jets.