Celtics 104 – NY Knicks 106
It seems an awful lot like the Knicks are going to be a schizophrenic team this year. They played best, by far, in the second and fourth quarters, with Carmelo quarterbacking their attack, for others in the second, and for himself in the fourth. This seems logically, as he’s essentially playing point forward, but then one looks at the fact that the defense was really only effective when playing off the offense and it gets confusing. Tyson Chandler did an outstanding job with 6 blocks and changing numerous other shots, but the Celtics got by the Knicks porous perimeter defense far too easily and frequently. It wasn’t even Melo or, really, Amare being beat (excepting a quick drubbing by Brandon Bass), though Paul Pierce not playing had a lot to do with that, but the guards porous play causing issues with help and rotations. Still, with the starters in the offense looked elite level, especially when noting they were playing the vaunted Celtics defense, and team defense takes time to learn. The effort was there, but the results were not.
The Celts, meanwhile, aren’t going to run into that offense every night and their defense should be fine, although the loss of Paul Pierce and Jeff Green really screws up their rotation at the 3. Sooner or later, however, that will work itself out, and the Celts should still find themselves in the playoff hunt pending the play of Rajon Rondo. With all due respect to Carmelo, Rondo was the best player on the court Sunday afternoon. He controlled the game on offense and defense the way few can. If he’s able to score at this rate with any consistency, he’s immediately a top ten player and immediately back in the best PG in the game conversation with Paul and Rose. He’s that kind of defender and distributor. All that’s keeping him out is a lack of shot and aggressiveness consistency. If he has it all year, Boston is going to be very, very tough to beat.
- Iman Shumpert looked absolutely great, getting to the rim at will against a tough defense. If he gets better at shooting and finishing, and I’d guess the Celts help D had a lot to do with those close-in misses, it’s not hard to see him taking big minutes and maybe even the starting spot by year’s end. He’s a 6’5 athletic freak. If he can distribute at all, he gives the Knicks a huge defensive advantage.
- Toney Douglas didn’t look good and the injury to Shumpert means that he’s the entire point guard rotation with a hurt Mike Bibby and Baron Davis. The Knicks really need someone on a ten-day to survive the next stretch.
- Josh Harrelson doesn’t look like an NBA rotation player yet. Good effort, but there’s no reason all his minutes aren’t going to Jared Jeffries right now.
- Amare Stoudemire cannot take only 11 shots when Toney Douglas takes 19. Tyson Chandler needs to be more involved in the offense than 2-shots. That’s just unacceptable
- The Celtics badly need to upgrade Sasha Pavlocic and Marquis Daniels on the wings if Paul Pierce is going to miss any time. I’m not even sold on Sasha as a rotation player.
- Kevin Garnett, jump shooter at large, doesn’t help the Celtics nearly as much as it hurts them. Pick and pop? Maybe. From 20-feet out? No. I don’t get why KG’s gorgeous post-moves are so dependent on athleticism.
- Brandon Bass looks like a golden pickup for this squad. His pick and pop game with Rondo and nose for the offensive glass are perfect with this team. He’s going to make up for a lot of what the Celtics miss offensively with the second unit and can easily close games with the first unit a-la Big Baby.
Tags: Basketball, Boston Celtics, Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks, Rajon Rondo