The Boston Celtics dominated the New York Knicks in the first playoff game at Madison Square Garden in nearly seven years to take a 3-0 series lead thanks to a performance of the ages from Boston's big stars.
Much like in Game 2, Rajon Rondo controlled the pace of the game, but in Game 3 it was his passing and not his scoring that gave the Knicks' defenders fits.
Rondo finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and a playoff career-best 20 assists, becoming just the second different player in NBA history to record 20 assists in a triple-double in a playoff game.
According to Elias, the only other player to do so was Magic Johnson who did it twice, in Game 3 of the 1984 NBA Finals and Game 5 of the 1991 NBA Finals.
His 20 assists set a Celtics playoff record, breaking one that he already shared with Bob Cousy (19).
According to game footage this marked the fourth time in his playoff career that Rondo created over 40 points off his assists for the Celtics. He created 49 points Friday in addition to the 15 he scored.
PierceAllenRondo's primary beneficiaries were Ray Allen (8-13, 21 points off Rondo passes) and
Allen shined from outside making eight three-point field goals en route to 32 points. Five of his eight three's came off of Rondo assists. It was his fourth career playoff game with eight three-point field goals.
Elias tells us Allen is the only player in NBA history with multiple playoff games with eight three-point field goals. In fact, all other active NBA players have a combined four such games.
While Allen was great he wasn't even the Celtics best offensive weapon as Pierce torched the Knicks for 38 points on 14-of-19 field goal shooting.
Game tape showed he was 4-for-4 on spot-up attempts while also making two of his three shots coming off of screens. Overall the Celtics starting unit outscored the Knicks' starters 100-to-44 in the Game 3 drubbing.
The big news before the game was Amar'e Stoudemire's availability, but the Knicks forward had little impact in his return to the lineup scoring just seven points in 32 minutes of action.
Stoudemire was on the court for 76 possessions in Game 3 and got at least one touch on just 16 of them (21.1 percent). He finished with a team-worst minus-34 plus-minus rating.
When Douglas brought the ball up court, the Knicks averaged just 0.65 points per play and shot just 33.3 percent from the field.