Here are a few quick observations from the first half of Knicks-Celtics:
FOUL TROUBLE FOR LIN: Jeremy Lin picked up two fouls in the first three minutes of the first quarter. He then picked up his third with 1:36 to go in the second. Baron Davis came in and things picked up a bit for New York in the first quarter. Davis had four assists in the first (and three turnovers). He spurred the Knicks' second unit to 15 first-quarter points, which helped the team rebound from a nine-point first-quarter deficit.
Foul trouble aside, Lin was bottled up early in the half. The Celtics sent two defenders at him on the perimeter at times and did a solid job shutting down any lanes he had to penetrate. Lin struggled with turnovers as well. He finished with two points, two rebounds, two assists and four turnovers in the half. With three fouls on Lin, you can expect to see Davis play significant minutes early in the second half.
AMARE BOUNCING BACK? After struggling in the first half of the season, Amare Stoudemire vowed to bounce back after the All-Star break. He looked strong in the first half against Boston. He's finishing inside, though there hasn't been an example you could point to to say Stoudemire's explosiveness is back. In fact, he dribbled across the lane and nailed a fall-away jumper rather than taking it straight to the rim in the second quarter. It turned out to be the right move -- and the easier shot -- but you have to wonder if Stoudemire hesitated to take it straight up because of a lack of pop in his legs.
Stoudemire finished with 10 points and five rebounds in the half. Carmelo Anthony had 12 points on an efficient 4-of-7 shooting. He made all four of his free throws.
BUOYED BY BENCH: The Knicks' bench outscored the Celtics' bench 23-9, showing no letdown from Wednesday's 50-point performance against the Cavs. Steve Novak had six points on two 3s. Iman Shumpert had six points in nine minutes. Jared Jeffries also had six. Davis did a good job of finding open opportunities for his teammates, finishing with four assists. But he had five turnovers.
TURNOVER TROUBLE: The Knicks and C's combined for three straight turnovers on three possessions early in the second quarter. Shumpert turned it over twice for New York. After the second Shumpert turnover, Davis flung an orange stretching device he was using onto the court. While doing so, he wore a smile that said, "What the heck is going on here?"