Rapid Reaction: Celtics 118, Knicks 116
December, 15, 2010
By Chris Sheridan | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
WHAT IT MEANS: The Knicks showed can hold their own with the big boys, but there aren't many teams out there that can prevent Paul Pierce from burying a game-winner when he has the ball in his hands with the clock ticking down. Pierce knocked down a 14-footer over Amare Stoudemire with 0.4 seconds left to extend the Celtics' winning streak to 11 games and end the Knicks' winning streak at eight in a game that gave the fans their money's worth. Much of that money poured in from Boston, apparently, as the Celtics had a surprisingly vocal group of supporters in the stands. The Knicks had Spike Lee wearing a Landry Fields jersey while sitting in his usual seat, and Donald Trump was in the house, too, to witness Stoudemire reach 30 points (39) for the ninth straight time. But in the end, the more experienced team played had the extra ounce of poise it needed in the final minute.
TURNING POINT: With the score tied at 113-113, Raymond Felton missed on an out-of-control drive to the basket, and the Celtics pushed the ball upcourt and found Ray Allen wide open in the corner for a 3-pointer with 1:02 left. That gave the Celtics their first lead since the early going, and then Pierce did what Pierce does after Stoudemire missed from in close with 12 seconds left, giving the Celtics the final meaningful possession. The Knicks had one last chance with 0.4 seconds left, but Stoudemire's make from behind the 3-point line left his hand a split-second too late and was waved off.
DIFFERENCE MAKER(S): We should start calling this section "Difference Maker Not Named Stoudemire." ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons blogged during the game: "Wilson Chandler is having a Don't Trade Me to Denver" game. Chandler was a steady producer throughout the night, finishing with 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Danilo Gallinari (who missed three straight free throws in the first half) acted as though he got an earful from his coach at halftime, playing an inspired second half (even dunking over Kevin Garnett in the fourth quarter) and finishing with 20 points. The true difference maker was Felton, whose aggression on the offensive end was relentless throughout but reckless on his final touch as he contributed 26 points and 14 assists.
WHAT'S NEXT: LeBron James comes to town for the first time this season, and the city he once called his favorite in the whole wide world (although he said Brooklyn was his favorite borough) will not exactly greet him and his Miami Heat teammates with open arms (more like open lungs).