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Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Knicks 103, Celtics 102

By Chris Forsberg

Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY SportsAvery Bradley drives against the Knicks on Wednesday night.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Rapid reaction after the New York Knicks defeated the Boston Celtics 103-102 in exhibition play Wednesday night at the Dunkin' Donuts Center:

THE NITTY GRITTY
The Celtics trailed by as much as 23 in the second half, but sparked by training camp invitee Chris Babb, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Iowa State, and undrafted rookie free agent Phil Pressey, Boston embarked on a furious rally to surge ahead in the final minute. Babb scored 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting beyond the arc, while Pressey added team highs with 13 points and seven assists. Alas, a Tim Hardaway Jr. baseline jumper with 8.2 ticks to play helped the Knicks escape. Still, a lineup of Babb, Pressey, MarShon Brooks, DeShawn Sims and Vitor Faverani made the game interesting with some spirited late-game play. Boston had a last chance to win the game, but Babb's leaner in the lane was blocked in the final second as the Knicks emerged.

THE POSITIVES

* Youngsters fuel comeback: The rookies like Babb and Pressey made the most of their floor time and added some intrigue to a once-lopsided game. You have to like the fight Boston has shown at times early in the preseason campaign, even when encountering double-digit deficits.

* Automatic Avery: Avery Bradley shed the tape on his dinged-up left index finger in the second half and had a nice little offensive burst in the third quarter. He scored 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting in the frame, hitting a pair of 3-pointers. He finished with a team-high 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting to go along with three assists and two steals.

* Fav3rani! Vitor Faverani had an encouraging first-half stretch that featured a fadeaway 3-pointer and a couple of dunks (including a strong left-handed flush that had the Celtics' bench tripping over itself). He also got confused on a pick-and-roll during the stretch but showed some a lot of his potential.

THE NEGATIVES

* Ugly third: The Celtics were outscored 34-21 in the third quarter as the Knicks shot 59.1 percent from the floor. Andrea Bargnani scored eight points in the frame to fuel New York.

* Courtney's confidence? Courtney Lee said his confidence, diminished during last season's struggles, had been restored this summer. It hasn't translated on the court thus far. Lee finished 1-of-5 shooting with only two points and minus-12 overall over 25:30 while starting for the second time in as many games.

* Wallace on ice: Gerald Wallace had an excellent first-half showing in which he posted 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting with three rebounds and two assists over 16:19, but he spent the entire second half on the bench icing his left foot. It seemed merely precautionary, as Wallace had his shoe back on and was standing to cheer on his teammates late in the game.

THE LEFTOVERS
The Celtics played without Jordan Crawford, who left the team Tuesday due to a death in the family. ... Brooks, a Providence College product, scored eight points while playing on his old college floor. ... Boston finished with a 36-34 advantage on the glass. ... The Celtics had 28 assists on 40 field goals (70 percent).

WHAT’S NEXT
The Celtics are scheduled to practice Thursday, then will play their first back-to-back of the 2013-14 campaign. The team treks to Delaware on Friday to play the 76ers before visiting Manchester, N.H., on Saturday for another tilt with the Knicks.