NEW YORK KNICKS: For Five Minutes, The Knicks and Amar'e Achieved Sweet Victory Over The Celtics as Madison Square Garden Roared Again!
**Savvy and Experience Were Only Two Points Better Than The Knickerbockers Tonight.
This is the stretch of games when the Knicks will finally be tested. A more accurate analysis of this new Knickerbocker team now begins in earnest. They started off well beating the Denver Nuggest and Carmelo Anthony last Sunday. Next up would be the Boyz from Beantown.
The Boston Celtics came into Madison Square Garden tonight sporting the Eastern Conference's best record built on the strength of a 10 game winning streak. The Knicks have a little streak of their own winning their last 8 games in a row. As of tonight, the Knicks are the team closest to the Celtics in the division standings with a 16-9 record and 4 games back. The first place Celtics were 19-4 before tonight's game.
And so, the championship calibur squad from Boston visited the new, re-formed Knicks in a good old- fashioned Atlantic Division match-up.
Amar'e Stoudemire topped thirty points for the 9th consecutive game (he finished with 39) and Ray Felton ochestrated what is becoming routine quarterbacking with a snarl. The Knicks took the lead in the opening minutes and clinged to it dearly all night long.
It appeared as if Boston was just rope-a-doping the Knicks, and that their defensive would rise-up to take over late in this game. The Celtics stayed close all night and tied it a few times. But this squad of Knicks never gave up against the Legendary Green Shamrocks.
The Knicks held a two, four, six and eight point lead for the majority of the night. With ten minutes left in the 4th period, Amar'e Stoudemire blocked two consecutive shot to protect a Knicks' two point lead. The Knicks would turn that into a four point lead again but then Ray Allen dropped a three on the Knicks and the lead was down to one again.
With six minutes left the Knicks were still clinging to one and three point leads. At 5:45 D'Gallo dazzled by driving baseline for a dunk to make it 102-99 and then Ray Felton burried a three his next time up the floor. The Celtics kept trading baskets them but Ray Felton and Stoudemire kept making shots also.
At 3:52, the Knicks called a time-out.
At 3:11 Amar'e Stoudemire scored his 39th point of the night giving the Knicks 111 points; the most the Celtics would allow this season to any team. It appeared as if the Knicks had the vaunted Celtics' D taxed.
With 2:18 left in the game the Knicks were still holding on tightly to their slim lead. Amar'e and Felton kept on surging and gave every impression they were practiced at the art of closing out games.
With 2:00 left the Knicks led 113-111. And at 1:29, after a foul to Garnett and two made free throws, the game was tied 113-113.
Ray Felton drove the paint but ended up wildly out of control trying to penetrate. He lost his dribble and the ball. The Celtics returned up court where Ray Allen burried another three for the Celtics. The score was now 116-113 Boston.
D'Gallo made a left handed lay-up after driving the left side of the paint off a Felton pass and got fouled....116-116 ~ 0.44 left.
Soon again, it was Knick ball with 20 seconds left. Felton found Stoudemire down low but Amar'e could not convert as the shot went in and out. The Celtics rebounded and promptly called for a time out with 0.12 seconds left.
Having won much credibility tonight, the Knicks had their eyes on winning this game. A Boston possession and 0.12 seconds stood between over-time or defeat.
It wasn't the Celtics defense that would bury the Knicks late. Instead, it was Paul Pierce who burried a shot from just to the side of the high right elbow. All that was left on the clock for the Knicks to attempt a shot to tie or win this game were four-tenths of a second.
The Knicks inbounded to Amar'e who promptly put up a shot from above the three point line and HIT It!
Incredibly, an Amar'e Stoudemire three point shot won the game for the Knickerbockers....But only for a few minutes until the refs checked the replay and confirmed that Amar'e got the shot off too late. The buzzer went off; the back-board light went on, and Amar'e still had the ball in his hands.
The Celtics win 118-116 tonight in Madison Square Garden. In this game, savvy won-out over youth.
Before the game, Coach Rivers said there'd be no trophies handed out after the game for who ever won. The comments stemmed from being asked about "the Knicks/Celtics rivalry". Well, Doc Rivers was right about not recieving trophies, but he and his team were lucky to leave NYC with their streak extended. Luck may not be a correct word to use as perhaps savvy is the better way to descibe Boston's last second "comeback" win.
The Knicks are clearly an emerging team as evidenced by tonight's effort. But they are still learning how to gel together and close games out. But there is no Knick fan tonight who left MSG who could have possibly been upset with tonight's game in spite of the loss.
Do I believe in moral victories? Not really. But I do have strong convictions about improvement and a strong appreciation for competing. The Knicks are presently engaged in both processes.
We fell two points short tonight or we just ran out of time; Take your pick. Or you can look at things this way. Tonight was a win-win.
December games against the League's best is a fair barometer to guage this team and the readings after the last two games are favorable. The Knicks and Celtics may very well be two teams passing and waving to each other in the night. The former Champions are practiced at the art of picking their moments and closing-out games. But Boston's Big Three's last days will be coming sooner than later in a figurative sense. They may have pushed their team to a 10 game winning streak and a 5 game lead over the Knicks in the standings. But the truth is tonight, they were only two points and a second better. Even Kevin Garnett knows that's too close for comfort.
The Knicks are just arriving and haven't even un-packed their bags yet. Tonight they made Boston and the rest of the contenders in this League understand the Knicks should no longer be viewed as one of the NBA's door matts. There's still much more work to do but this team looks like it intends on staying around for a while. And after one look around Madison Square Garden tonight, it was clear the fans were back HOME and planned on staying a while also.
Next up....Bring the HEAT; The Miami Heat!
*LINK: TRADE RUMOR*
From: Examiner.com Minnesota
Article: "Timberwolves Guard Telfair Could be Traded To New York Knicks"
By: Matt Krumrie; Minnesota Timberwolves Examiner