|Posted by GeeZeeCeltics on April 28, 2013 at 5:00 PM|
Whew, what a game. What. A. Game.
The Celtics prevailed over the Knicks in a game that was already emotional because of the strong chance of it being the last game of a whole era in Boston. First, the Celtics spiced things up by going up big - that got the crowd up - just to lose it all away and then grind out the win in OT in typical Celtics fashion. The hero today? Jason Terry, who scored the last nine points for the Celtics, including a hugely clutch trey tied at 88 with 1:30 to go. Tonight, the Jet took off for real.
The Celtics started with a good energy level but the turnover problem was still there. Terry backed up his talk by hitting his first two shots. The Knicks, however, were not hitting every shot they took anymore, and they were missing JR Smith. Anthony tried to shoulder the load offensively, but to no avail. Meanwhile, Jeff Green was stellar and the Celtics got out to an early 22-17 lead after one.
The game got chippy in the second quarter with a quartet of Terry, Garnett, Quentin Richardson and Kenyon Martin exchanging pleasantries at one point. This obviously fueled Jet even more, who was really hyped and continued to play well. The whole team seemed to gain energy, and Jeff Green fed off of that, plowing straight down the lane and to the bucket on successive possesions in the quarter, energizing himself and the crowd. The Knicks could not respond, and the Celtics' lead balooned to 19 at halftime.
This is where things went wrong again. The Celtics offensive production crashed and burned once again, allowing the Knicks to give chase. What once was a 20 point lead had dwindled down to three on a Raymond Felton buzzer beating three pointer. Speaking of Felton, he was torching the Celtics hard in the 3rd, drilling 4 threes and providing a major scoring lift for New York. Anthony was opening up as well, and all that led to a feeling all too familiar for Celtics fans - a feeling of imminent collapse. However....
The last quarter of regulation was a battle. The Celtics defended well enough and attacked bad enough to keep the game in limbo. Occasional dumb turnovers that led to New York layups felt more and more dooming, and so did offensive rebounds that gave the Knicks more chances to kill our season for good. Yet the Celtics somehow found themselves with a shot for the win at the end of regulation. Doc ran a Pierce/KG pick-and-roll, after which Pierce found himself against Tyson Chandler, whom he shot a long two against. The shot would miss, and it was time for OT.
For a while, it felt like the Celtics wouldn't make it, in large part due to the foul trouble -- Jeff Green, Garnett and Bass were all struggling with that. But the duo of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett managed to produce enough offense to hold on long enough. Long enough for what? Clearance for takeoff. With the game tied at 88 with less than two minutes to go, Jason Terry drilled his patented fastbreak pull-up three, then scored a leaning jumpshot on the following possesion. After that, he secured a Knicks miss and was fouled by Steve Novak, sending him to the line, where he iced two more free throws to push the lead to five. The Celtics got a stop once more, and Terry received an outlet pass and was left all alone to finish with a layup, thus completing his own 9 point run to finish the game and secure the game -- and the season -- for the Celtics.
Who's hot: Pierce scored 29 points, Jeff Green contributed 26 - both were instrumental in the victory. KG grabbed 17 rebounds and made a pair of very clutch buckets in OT. Brandon Bass was excellent on defense against Carmelo right up until he fouled out. And, of course.. Jason Terry. It's self-explanatory. Gotta give props to Raymond Felton though, he was torching the Celtics to the tune of 27 points. Shumpert was also a problem tonight.
Who's not: Carmelo Anthony, who scored 36 points, but did so on 10/35 shooting, including 0/7 from downtown. The bulk of his points came from the charity stripe, where he wound up 20 times.
The Celtics refused to lay down and die, and they fought back the way we're used to see them do it. It may not mean much with the hole they dug themselves before, but at the same time it means everything. If just for one night, the old fashioned Celtics refused to go quietly into the night.