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Pierce Steps Back, Celtics Step Up: Boston 102, New York 96

The only thing this one lacked was Nate Robinson jumping on Paul Pierce’s back after the final buzzer.

It was another regular season classic between the Celtics and the Knicks who went back and forth for 48 brutal minutes at MSG before the Celtics pulled away in the fourth quarter behind some terrific perimeter defense and a few museum-quality ISOs from Pierce.

There’s a ton to talk about in this one including enormous games from Jared Sullinger and Avery Bradley and the C’s neutralizing Carmelo Anthony (6-25). We’ll get into all that later on as we wrap up the Celtics’ third win in a row.

And… oh yeah… did you miss Rajon Rondo?

  • Phil

    Great win. Everyone stepped up when called upon (even Jeff Green!) and they beat a very good Knicks team who was on from deep. This is the second game in a row where the other team was hitting everything in the first half, and they stuck with the defense and pulled out a win in the end. You can feel the atmosphere shifting around the team right now.

    As an aside; how terrifying are the Knicks? Every time Chandler rolls or someone jacks a 3, you have to expect it to go in. Add in Chandler's batting the ball out offensive rebound routine and they can score with anyone. I questioned what they did over the offseason, but they look real to me.

    • Anthony

      I'm quite surprised at how good the Knicks are as well. But in the playoff, can they sustain shooting 3s at that clip in a 7 game series? Even in this game they couldn't sustain it in the second half. Maybe that's just a testament to the adjustments that the Celts made.

      • Phil

        I'm more concerned about their defense actually (which has been declining for weeks, and will get worse with Amare.) The threes are what make them a threat in any game, but their offense is solid all around. They lose a lot of their pick and roll game with Felton out, and I assume he'll be there for the playoffs. They couldn't play from the post as much as they'd like with Anthony struggling either, and you have to expect him to play better if they're going to win a series or two.

        Sure they could lose if they go totally cold from 3, but so will any team. Some of my least favorite games are where the Celtics are playing well, but still losing because they're 1-8 from 3 after three quarters.

  • Switcharoo

    That was an awesome game, so much excitement and e energy it was crazy. I don’t know what was more amusing though, watching Anthony try and fail to get a rise out of Garnett or Spike Lee looking like a fool court side; that guy is a joke I’m tellin ya. Anyways yeah the Celtics were all “grit and balls” tonight, it looks like Bradley’s return is bringing g something back to the Cs.
    And just I case you missed it….Sullinger is a BEAST!

    • Phil

      I loved when Sullinger beat Chandler for a rebound, Chandler fouled him, and Sullinger basically taunted him all the way down the court. I sure as hell wouldn't be taunting Chandler if I was a rookie, but that's his toughness/attitude. It's very welcomed on this team.

  • Anthony

    Wow, what a game! This is the kind of effort that I was looking for in the first 30 games. Wasn't too crazy about the give the ball to Pierce and everyone clear out plays in the final minutes but love the effort nevertheless.

    AB is a man-child…. Now, I'm absolutely certain Celts would've destroyed the Heats in the conference finals had he played. JR Smith ended with decent numbers but he really struggled against AB. Also Knicks as a whole were bailed out a few times by the refs. How was Melo not T'ed a second time? He kept going at KG for the entire 4th qrtr.

    So surprised Sully only ended up with 5 boards in the box score. Seemed like he had double digits rebounds easy. I still say CLee and Barbosa need to play more mins over JET. Lastly, JGreen deserve some love for his solid defense on Melo.

    Now for a 5 games homestand…finally a silver lining in the season?? I certainly hope so.

  • elroz

    Well, great D … I guess when you have Terry and Green both playing good D, you can afford one of them being an offensive non-entity. Really, JET is struggling very much right now… but both he and Green played good D..and one of them is bound to contribute.

    Great game from KG. But I HOPE 38 minutes is not a trend… but an exception. Hopefully Collins can return and give 8-10 minutes a game along with Sully and Bass. Bass was 3-3 tonight after going 5-6 in Atlanta.
    Awesome to have Barbosa chip in as one of the 4 guards.. right now I seriously wonder if Terry is at all better than Barbosa.

  • Jerome

    That game Definetly had a playoff feel to it, the Celtics won their last 3 and this game was a major confidence booster as a whole but especially for the bench. Sullinger and Bradley dug in deep on defense with a lot of intensity. Melo was locked down (6-26 from the floor) and lookin like a real big crybaby. Garnett got into his head and that cost the Knicks the game as Melo tried to take on the C’s singlehandedly ALA Kobe. The sweetest part of the game for me, that step back jumper that “The Truth” hit over the outstretched arm of Tyson Chandler. How many times have we seen him do it folks?, he’s got ice in his veins and with a kiss silenced the Garden in NY. A seriously underrated superstar, but then again we are not south beach, we are not Hollywood, this is Boston!!!

    P.s. we won without Rondo

    • check12check

      sometimes i swear we look better without him

  • IBleedGreen

    LOL@ Carmelo jacking up bad shots after bad shots after KG got into his head.

  • James

    this was just a great game to watch. I have a lot of love for Jeff Green but he has been woeful lately, today he didn't just put up empty stats he really contributed, was efficient and played some good D on Melo when pierce went out. It sucks that Terry is in a slump but I liked the rest of his game besides the shooting, he has to get home at some point, right?
    Sullinger is a straight up beast. Was loving every minute of him on the court tonight. The whole bench really stepped it up and I think that's where the difference was.
    The starters were great, but the bench really put in the hard yards to get the W.

    • CelticsBIG3

      While Green put up good numbers, he still made a lot of stupid costly mistakes.

  • Sophomore

    Trade Rondo!

    (I kid.)

  • check12check

    I think the only negative thing i can say about this game is it might have been a loss if melo had really been rolling. At the same time, you can argue that the celtics did a good job shutting him down. I really feel that way too. Pierce had one of his best defensive games against a truly elite scorer, and Green had hands down his best defensive game. For that matter, Green finally showed why he does have the potential to worth all 9 million of those dollars. It remains to be seen if he will keep it up, but if he does it will add a whole new dimension to this team. solid d AND 5-10 shooting with 5-6 from the line. there were a few times when he had an easy lane to the rim and settled for a 16-18 foot jumper, but i still liked what i saw.

    Terry, a career sharpshooter, looks like he is just learning how to shoot a basketball for the first time. I liked the D though.

    KG had KG level intensity. i love when he has that fire. I remember when he swatted away one ball that was clearly a goal tend, but he still made a statement. it was fantastic

    Pierce has been a savior lately.

    Sully DOES look like the steal of the draft. I don't know what his ceiling is, but that guy has an NBA career ahead of him

    Bass is finally playing like Bass. maybe he needs AB on the court to shoot well? i don't know

    speaking of Mr. Bradley, i could watch him on D all freaking day long. I've seen people try to say he is over-rated on D and that he is only an average defender. i have no doubt that he is the best defensive guard in the league and maybe even the best defensive player period. it looks like that offensive rust is wearing off too. it's not just that he impacts the team, it kind of seems like the team treating the season like an extended training camp until he got back. with AB back, this team looks like they will fight to win every game and that they can win every game.

    I still think another big man will help, but this team looks really good right now. love what i see

  • I_Love_Green


  • Phil

    The stats back that up too. The Celtics have basically been the same offensively and defensively whether Rondo is on the court or not.

    That's both an indictment of his play so far, and a positive if you assume that he will play better going forward. This team has been missing the good Rondo we know all year.

  • Phil

    Is anyone else having problems loading pages on here? It's hanging up for 5-10 minutes at a time and throwing 503 errors at me. Server overload after a big win?

    • Ryan DeGama

      That's probably it. We're looking at it now…

    • emg


  • james patrick

    Hey Jeff Green! Thanks for showing up tonight! Do this every game and I'll take back everything I said. lol

  • Anthony

    It's tough to get a gage on how Amare will progress. He and Melo just doesn't seem to work. I'm more concerned with Iman Shumpert's return. He's a defensive beast.

    Also Melo and JR are 2 players that can shoot you out of a game. Melo loves hero ball but he seemed to have matured a bit even though he didn't show it tonite.

    That being said, I would not want to face the Knicks in the first round.

  • Phil

    Great quote from Sully after the game too. When asked about the game being testy:

    "That's testy? That's testy? I've seen way worse stuff in the 80s and I wasn't even born in the 80s. So, if that's testy, I didn't see it."

    Gotta love the toughness. It's hard to believe that the team's recent edge hasn't been hugely thanks to him and Bradley.

  • Anthony

    I think a game like tonite's will have immense impact on a player like Sully going forward. Gotta love the way he responded. The Celts should call up Fab Melo from the D-League so he can get some these learning experiences also. I much rather develop Fab in real NBA games than give the 10+ mins to Jason Collins. What if those monster D-League games aren't a fluke? He can be the last line of defense after AB and KG. Sorry, maybe I got too worked up after tonite's game.

  • Switcharoo

    Melo is stalking KG? Damn man the games over and you lost, let it go. KG must have really gotten Melos panties in a twist lol.

    • Anthony

      Melo was looking for his jumpshot. He thought he lost it in the Celts locker room and/or bus.

      • Josh_5

        HAHAHAHA yesssss.

  • Celtic Pride

    Loved this game. It was Celtic basketball at it's finest. It's truly amazing what happens to good offensive players when you take away what they love to do and really dig into them on D. The entire Knick team lost their composure and started turning it into a brawl to make up for the fact they couldn't get past our D. Melo was completely lost out there playing hero ball and trying to show up KG while shooting his team out of the game. Scoreboard is always the final statement and you Mr. Melo came up short.

    I know the Jett is struggling, but am I the only one who noticed he came up with a huge bucket down the final stretch against Kidd…clearly taking that matchup personal.

    I really think the biggest change since AB came back is that the new additions to the roster got to see how Celtics D is supposed to be played and they've all been raising their intensity and getting up into people. It's a thing of beauty.

    And Pierce…seriously one of the best clutch players in history. I loved seeing him keep verbally silent when Melo was heated…then let his game do the talking by icing them with basket after basket.

    More please.

  • swissflix

    the kids came to play and the grown ups won.

  • CelticsBIG3

    At least against the Knicks. This is at least the second time in the last two seasons where Pierce had to lead us against the Knicks without Rondo.

  • Josh_5

    I LOOOOVED this quote from Sully. This guy has all the intangibles to be a great player. Love his grit and balls mentality.