Knicks @ Celtics 12/12/14 – Game Recap

Written by William Lee

New York got off to a hot start Friday night converting on eight of their first ten attempts, getting a double digit lead midway through the first quarter 18-8. After reports from Chris Broussard of ESPN claiming that there is a poor relationship between Carmelo Anthony and Tim Hardaway Jr., it was nice to see that Anthony and Hardaway Jr. passed the ball to each other, not freezing each other out on the offensive end. It was also good to see Anthony picking Hardaway Jr. up from the floor after an offensive foul committed by Hardaway Jr. late in closing seconds of the first quarter. Hopefully there isn’t any lingering animosity towards each other, and this might sound stupid but studies show that “winning teams touch more” according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Knicks lead 26-19 after one quarter, cooling off a bit after the hot start. Tyler Zeller kept Boston in the game early, going a perfect 3/3 from the field in the first quarter.

After starting off 0/3 from the field Hardaway Jr. got it going in the second quarter, scoring ten of his 16 total points in the period. The second quarter got ugly with both team going ice cold from the field, there was no points scored by either team for a three minute stretch in the quarter. Things got uglier for New York when Iman Shumpert tried to be a pest, and pop the ball away from Zeller, but ended up dislocating his left shoulder instead, going straight to the locker room visibly in pain. This was a huge blow for New York whom was already without J.R. Smith due to a heel injury.

A couple of careless passes to start the second half by Celtics’ point guard and leader Rajon Rando got the Knicks to stretch their lead out. The turnovers were contagious, as Boston turned the ball over six times in the quarter. Zeller again kept the Celtics in the game scoring eight points in the quarter on 4/6 shooting. Zeller finished the game with 19 points and a couple of blocks.

Jason Smith heated up in the third quarter, bailing out New York several times as the Celtics started to apply a lot of defensive pressure to the ball handlers. Smith alleviated that pressure, getting to the open spots, scoring on all four of his attempts, scoring eight of his total 12 points in the quarter.

Marcus Thornton sparked a comeback, bridging from gap late in the third quarter to the start of the fourth. Thornton scored eight points in a 12-4 run that got the Celtics within one possession 75-73, capping off the run on a three-pointer to start off the fourth quarter, New York responded by going on an 11-0 run to lead by 86-73 with 8:42remaining in the game. Jeff Green got mean, almost single handedly getting Boston back into the game, scoring half of his game high 28 points in the fourth quarter. Green scored eight straight points on a 10-4 run that got Boston within six points 96-90 with just under two minutes remaining in the game.

With the momentum shifting towards Boston’s favor, New York got trapped under their own basket with 2.9 left on the shot clock. Green foolishly fouled Anthony on a jump shot, halting all momentum when Anthony knocked down both free throws. Anthony scored 22 points, but also chipped in on defense, blocking three shots, and stealing the ball once.

Green on the ensuing possession made up for the foolish foul by quickly getting up the court and finishing in the lane with a monster jam. Boston double teamed Anthony on the next possession, leading to a turnover as Larkin traveled as he made his move to the rim. Boston caught a break as Larkin was wide open. Boston would again catch another break seconds later, as the referee made an unfavorable call towards New York, when it looked like Anthony got a clean steal, but was called for the foul instead when Green made his move. Green though would split the pair of free throws, New York led 98-93 with 52.8 seconds left in the game.

Boston couldn’t muster up enough offense to complete the comeback, and New York finally snapped their ten game losing streak, defeating the Celtics 101-95.

Trade Grades

Every other week Jay does an NBA column on POPBLERD.  Khendra does the alternating weeks, she’s a good read too.  The following is my reaction to all the trades, which I wrote for popblerd.com this week.  I added Marc and my grades for each transaction.

The NBA trade deadline seems to have been much busier this year than in seasons past.

Here to break down the deals, steals and head-scratchers is our man Jay, whose Podcast (I hyperlinked it) is one you should definitely be listening to.
The Celtics sent Marquis Daniels to the Kings for a 2017 2nd-round pick.
• Injured all the time anyway, clears up a roster spot and clears up some space for Boston. Low risk for the Kings. Who knows, he might even be healthy enough to play a game before the season ends.
Grades:
Jay – Boston (C) Kings (C)
Marc – Boston (C) Kings (C)

The Rockets sent Shane Battier and Ish Smith to Memphis for Hasheem Thabeet and a first-round pick. – Love it for Memphis, they get a solid player in Battier and get rid of their biggest mistake since Big Country Reeves. Memphis looks like they are going to make the playoffs so the Rockets are getting a low 1st round pick and a guy who stinks. Don’t get this one from Houstons side at all.
Grades:
Jay – Houston (F) Memphis (B+)
Marc – Houston (F) Memphis (A)

The Rockets sent Aaron Brooks to Phoenix for Goran Dragic and another pick.
• Aaron Brooks was having his issues in Houston and has been injured a lot this season. Dragic took a huge step back this season. Maybe a change of scenery will do well for both of them.
Grades:
Jay – Houston (C-) Phoenix (B+)
Marc – Houston (D) Phoenix (A-)

The Cavaliers acquired center Semih Erden and forward Luke Harangody from Boston in exchange for a 2013 second-round draft pick, according to a league source.
• A steal for the Cavs as they get a decent young big man for almost nothing. The Knicks couldn’t have swung this deal?
Grades:
Jay – Boston (F) Cleveland (A+)
Marc – Boston (F) Cleveland (A+)

The Charlotte Bobcats traded forward Gerald Wallace to the Portland Trail Blazers for a package that includes two first-round picks center Joel Przybilla and reserve forward Dante Cunningham.
• I like Pryzbilla but he’s not as good as Wallace. Every move Jordan has made has been to save money and this isn’t any different. Enjoy your mid to late first round picks you cheap bastard.
Grades:
Jay – Charlotte (D-) Portland (A)
Marc – Charlotte (C-) Portland (A)

The Bobcats also sent backup center Nazr Mohammed to Oklahoma City for reserve forward D.J. White and the expiring contract of guard Morris Peterson.
• See cheap bastard comment above.
Grades:
Jay – Charlotte (F) OKC (B+)
Marc – Charlotte (F) OKC (B+)

The Boston Celtics agreed to ship center Kendrick Perkins and guard Nate Robinson to the Oklahoma City Thunder for forward Jeff Green and big man Nenad Krstic.
• This and the Deron Williams trades seemed to come out of nowhere. The Celtics, who have the 2nd best record in the NBA this season ended up trading ¼ of their lineup at the trade deadline. The Celtics seem to be trading offense for defense. With Delonte West back, Nate Robinson isn’t as necessary, so now Jeff Green can give Paul Pierce a rest while not losing much scoring-wise. Krstic is serviceable, but If the O’Neals are healthy come playoff time they’ll probably get the majority of the minutes. While Perk is a better defender it’ll be nice to have a center that can shoot. I like this trade a lot for the Thunder. I felt they were a big defensive man away from really making some noise in the west and that’s exactly what they got. They’ve been criticized for their defense this season and just gave their lineup a big upgrade in that department. Green, while very good, wasn’t getting many minutes behind Durant and he’ll probably want more money when his contract is up, so the Nate pickup works for them as well.
Grades:
Jay – Boston (C) Thunder (A+)
Marc – Boston (C-) Thunder (A)

The Atlanta Hawks acquired guard Kirk Hinrich and forward Hilton Armstrong from Washington for guard Mike Bibby, rookie guard Jordan Crawford, swingman Maurice Evans and a first-round pick in this year’s draft.
• I feel Hinrich is a slight upgrade over Bibby. Slight. It’s a good gamble for Atlanta, but they’re still not going to do anything in the playoffs. Washington is starting Wall anyway so they get a pick in the 20’s and hope to get lucky.
Grades:
Jay– Atlanta (C) Washington (B)
Marc– Atlanta (B-) Washington (B+)

The Los Angeles Clippers traded point guard Baron Davis and their 2011 first-round draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon.
• Davis gets what he deserved. He signed a huge contract and didn’t try until Blake started playing. Now he’s on the worst team in the league. Karma. Williams might not be as good as Davis when he’s trying but you know Williams will try every game and not show up fat. Cavs get a top 10 pick and the Clips get an OK bench player.
Grades:
Jay – Cleveland (D+) LAC (B+)
Marc – Cleveland (B-) LAC (A-)

The Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Hornets finalized a deal that will send forward Carl Landry to New Orleans in exchange for guard Marcus Thornton and cash considerations.
• Good deal for both teams. Thornton wasn’t playing enough in NO and Sacramento had too many forwards. They should both fit better with their new teams.
Grades:
Jay– Sacramento (B) Now Orleans (B-)
Marc– Sacramento (C+) Now Orleans (B)

The New Jersey Nets have acquired Deron Williams from the Utah Jazz. The Nets will send Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, two first-round draft picks and cash considerations to Utah for the All-Star point guard.
• This deal seemed to come out of nowhere. IF Williams signs an extension than Jersey just made NY look like idiots for giving up half their roster when NJ might have gotten the better player. If he doesn’t sign then Jersey gave away a lot for a 1 ½ year rental.
Grades:
Jay – New Jersey (C) Utah (B+)
Marc – New Jersey (B+) Utah (B+)

The Nets will send the expiring contract of forward Troy Murphy and a second-round pick in 2012 to the Golden State Warriors for center Dan Gadzuric and power forward Brandan Wright.
• Both teams traded forwards that should have gotten playing time but didn’t. Murphy might get bought out, we’ll see. 2nd round pick for Gadzuric is pretty even, both will have about zero impact.
Grades:
Jay – New Jersey (B-) Golden State (C)
Marc – New Jersey (C+) Golden State (D)

James Johnson was traded from the Bulls to the Toronto Raptors for a 2nd round pick.
• Small trade, but Johnson started for the Raptors and helped lead them to victory over his former team in his 1st game.
Grades:
Jay – Toronto (B) Chicago (C)
Marc – Toronto (A) Chicago (C)

The Knicks Acquire Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Renaldo Balkman and Anthony Carter from Denver and Corey Brewer from Minnesota. The Nuggets Acquire Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov the 2014 1st round pick and the Warriors 2nd round picks in 2012 and 2013 from the Knicks and Kosta Koufos from Minnesota. The Wolves acquire Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph from the Knicks.

• I’m so torn on this trade. As a Knicks fan I’ve talked myself into and out of this trade 100 times already. I definitely felt the Knicks gave up too much. Billups for Felton is pretty much a wash because neither was probably going to be around in 2012. Mozgov wasn’t going to be the answer and the Knicks weren’t going to be able to resign Chandler if they waited to the offseason to sign Anthony. So now it’s down to Gallinari for Anthony. No brainer right? Well the Knicks now don’t have enough cap space for a 3rd star and also don’t have any centers other than Turiaf who gets injured if he plays more than 20 minutes. The bench is thinner too, Brewer, Anthony Carter, and Shelden Williams won’t play. Balkman will probably get 10 minutes a game. I’d be more OK with this trade if I didn’t see Kendrick Perkins, Semih Erden, Nazr Mohammad, Nenad Krstic and Joel Przybilla all get traded. Since they were all available for cheap can you really tell me getting Aaron Brooks, Gerald Wallace and Semih Erden wouldn’t have made the Knicks a better team than they are now? Denver made out great on this deal. They get 2 starters, a backup point (unless Felton moves into the starting position) and a big man project. Not to mention the additional cap space and draft picks. They are arguably better now than they were before the trade. The Wolves didn’t give up much and get to see what Randolph can do for the final 30 games of the season and free up cap space with Eddy Currys expiring.
Grades:
Jay – Knicks (C) Denver (A) Minnesota (B)
Marc – Knicks (B-) Denver (A)