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.