Since the start of the 2009-10 season, the Knicks and Celtics have played eight games against each other, including preseason, and six of those times were decided by four points or fewer. Here's a look at the six games in chronological order (from ESPN Stats and Information):
November 22, 2009 at Madison Square Garden -- With the ball in his hands at the end of the game, Paul Pierce created open space for Kevin Garnett as the Knicks switched defensive assignments on the play. Pierce passed to Garnett and he drained a jumper at the top of the key at the buzzer for a 107-105 victory.
February 23, 2010 at TD Garden -- The Knicks trailed 107-106 with 2:45 left in the fourth quarter. Both teams struggled to make shots down the stretch, but in the end it was Boston that came out on top 110-106.
April 6, 2010 at Madison Square Garden -- With the Knicks trailing 101-100, Danilo Gallinari hit a deep two-pointer with 36 seconds left and David Lee made a layup in the final 10 seconds of the fourth quarter, and the Knicks won 104-101.
October 13, 2010 at Madison Square Garden -- It was preseason, but Boston and New York were locked in a tight battle. Pierce drained a 23-foot jumper with eight seconds left in the fourth quarter, and the Knicks fell short 104-101.
October 29, 2010 at TD Garden -- Knicks trailed 103-101 with 17 seconds left in the fourth quarter, following an Amare Stoudemire three-pointer. Pierce then drew a foul, hit both free throws and the Knicks lost 105-101.
December 15, 2010 at Madison Square Garden -- With the score tied 116-116 in the fourth quarter, Pierce hit the game-winning pull-up jumpshot with 0.4 left on the clock. Stoudemire made a three-pointer to end the game, but he didn't beat the clock in time and the Knicks lost 118-116.
After the game last night, Wilson Chandler tweeted, "Tough loss... smh... Learn from it and get better..." But the Knicks have to hold their heads high. Pierce said, "They're one of the few teams that can challenge us defensively. They play small ball well and can shoot the three." While the Knicks transition defense was much better than in previous games, as they held the Celtics to only 11 fastbreak points, they have to improve their interior defense and rotations in the halfcourt set. The Celtics scored 62 points in the paint -- 15.9 points better than their season average (46.1), which ranks them second in the league.
ESPN Insider's John Hollinger writes that the Nets have very attractive pieces to offer Denver for Carmelo Anthony: Rookie Derrick Favors, Troy Murphy's expiring contract and five first-round picks in the next two years, four of which they can trade. But Hollinger says that if Anthony is dead-set on his reported agenda of only wanting to play for the Knicks, the 'Bockers will have the means to sign him without compensation in free agency. Thus, New York remains the favorite to land him, either by trade this year or via free agency this summer. So the question becomes then, Which team needs him more: the Knicks or the Nets? Hollinger argues that a Anthony, Devin Harris and Brook Lopez core could be better than inserting Anthony into a Knicks lineup without Gallinari and either Chandler or Landry Fields (or both). While Anthony is a better rebounder, which the Knicks need more of, he's not a great outside shooter and he would take a high-efficiency offense and likely drag down its efficiency, especially from the perimeter. And right now, the Knicks are only an average three-point shooting team (36.9%).
Last night at the Garden, the Knicks debuted their new online community, KnicksNow.com, to a select group of journalists. It will provide fans with 24/7 access to everything Knicks, including exclusive video clips of players, coaches and fans, game highlights, photo galleries, online chats, players' Twitter and Facebook feeds and the latest team news stories. As fans participate in different activities on the site, such as engaging with other fans and sharing content, they can earn points that can be redeemed for tickets, team gear signed by the players and other special opportunities, such as getting a tour of the team's practice facility or going on the court during pregame.
I spoke to KnicksNow.com's visionary Howard Jacobs, MSG Sports' executive vice president of marketing and sales, to learn a bit more about the next-generation platform:
How did the idea come about?
Following free agency, we were pretty excited about what Donnie [Walsh] and Mike [D'Antoni] had done for us. We asked ourselves a key question, What's the future of fan engagement? What's it going to look like? Where's that conversation going to take place? For us, that wasn't an advertising campaign. For us, this was a destination where fans and players, and fans amongst each other could come together and access the best content and have a conversation, and then maybe even be rewarded for it.
How does the site tie in with the team's marketing slogan, "You. Us. We. Now.?"
"You. Us. We. Now." is really about the team and the city coming together, and that's the essence of the whole strategy. This is the digital kind of expression of that plan. We think we're off to something exciting; we don't think there's much like in the world of sports today, so we're going to invest in it and we're going to continue to build on it.
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