Rapid reaction following the Celtics' 109-98 exhibition victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y.
HOW THE GAME WAS WON: Jeff Green came through with arguably his finest effort of the preseason, playing 37 minutes and scoring 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting to go along with 6 rebounds. Jason Terry was right on Green's heels with 22 points of his own, as he sank four of his six 3-point field goal attempts. Boston was further bolstered by a 13-point, 11-assist double-double from Rajon Rondo, and 10 points and 8 rebounds from Jared Sullinger.
TURNING POINT: The Celtics trailed by as many as 20 with 7:18 remaining in the second quarter, but they chipped away from there and ended the first half on a 24-9 run, trailing by only five heading into the break. The teams exchanged buckets for the majority of the third period, with the Knicks maintaining a slim three-point edge heading into the fourth quarter. But the C's came out strong in the fourth, with rookie Kris Joseph converting back-to-back three-point plays to give Boston its first lead since the first quarter. Green added a deep jump shot minutes later to beat the shot clock and then fired off a three-quarter-court outlet pass to Lee for a wide-open dunk, giving Boston a 94-87 edge with 7:21 remaining. The Celtics then embarked on a 12-0 offensive run to take complete control and cruise to a lopsided victory.
BOLD PLAY OF THE GAME: Micah Downs seemed to have this locked up after a sleek behind-the-back layup on the left side early in the second quarter, but a monster third-quarter block from Green couldn't be ignored. A Boston turnover gave way to what, at first glance, appeared to be an easy transition layup for Mychel Thompson, but Green gave chase and launched into the air from behind, completely stuffing Thompson's layup bid.
GREEN DOING IT ALL: Taking advantage of Paul Pierce's night off, Green started at the small forward spot and came through with another strong outing, putting in a preseason-high 25 points. Green brought forth a very balanced offensive game, as he mixed in sleek and strong drives to the rim with a flurry of jumpers from the perimeter. He connected on three of his five 3-point attempts, and 10 of his 16 field goal attempts overall. He also added six rebounds -- an area he said before the preseason that he wanted to see improvement in. Add in a steady defensive showing, including the aforementioned block on Thompson, along with a fourth-quarter assist to Courtney Lee that helped Boston run away with this thing, and it was a very respectable all-around performance for Green.
JET HELPS BRING C'S BACK: Terry scored 16 of his 22 points during the middle two quarters, over a period when Boston was making its comeback and not allowing the Knicks to re-establish a considerable lead. It was a great demonstration of what Terry can bring to this team off the bench, with his quick release and deep range helping Boston keep pace with a Knicks team that didn't take its foot off the gas until the final quarter. Terry scored six points over the final two minutes of the first half, helping chop Boston's deficit to just five heading into intermission.
UNSUNG HERO: Joseph garnered significant playing time for the second consecutive game and came through again with a solid fourth-quarter effort. His two transition layups to start the final frame were pivotal to Boston's comeback effort, as they kick-started the offense. Worth noting is Joseph's tendency to hang around the paint and not shy away from contact under the rim. Though he can play along the front line, he isn't necessarily built to battle in the paint, but that hasn't seemed to deter him in his two most recent outings. Joseph finished Saturday's game with 10 points and 3 rebounds in 26 minutes.
DOWNS STILL FIGHTING: Strong outings from Green and Joseph might have further hindered his chances of making the final roster, but Downs came through with another solid, active effort Saturday. He was 3-for-3 from the field for 6 points in just under 14 minutes, including that flashy second-quarter layup, and also grabbed 3 rebounds. Green's prolific evening probably hurt Downs' chances of increased minutes, but so far he has shown he's worth keeping around. It might simply be a case of not enough roster spots being available.