Boston Massacre: Celtics Humiliate Listless KnicksWhat happens when a group of players who are willing to work together and sacrifice goes against a group of players who are not willing to do those things? "It has been a total embarrassment for the Knicks," Marv Albert intoned with his distinctive vocal delivery during the third quarter of Thursday's Boston-New York game. The Celtics led 65-31 at that point en route to a 104-59 victory. That is the second lowest scoring output by a Knicks team in the shot clock era--and it would have been the worst if not for a buzzer beating three pointer by Nate Robinson at the end of the game. TNT ran a startling graphic that showed that Boston outscored New York 42-7 to open each of the first three quarters of the game (14-3; 16-2; 12-2); as Keith Olbermann would say, the Knicks' starting five could have simply gotten a roll of stamps and mailed in their performance.
Knicks Coach Isiah Thomas told TNT's Craig Sager that the first half was the most selfish half of basketball he had ever seen, which could quite correctly be interpreted as a swipe at starting point guard Stephon Marbury, who finished with four points, one assist and three turnovers in 21 minutes; amazingly, things actually got worse for the Knicks in the third quarter and shortly after Albert's comment Thomas benched his entire starting lineup in favor of his "energy" group: Renaldo Balkman, Jared Jeffries, Nate Robinson, Fred Jones and David Lee. That quintet usually makes up in hustle what it lacks in talent, though it is of course an exercise in futility for that unit to try to match up to the Celtics--who have both talent and energy; on this night, though, even the "energy" group suffered a power outage and the Celtics pushed their advantage to 74-35. Boston led 82-41 at the end of the third quarter and as late as the 4:50 mark of the fourth quarter the Celtics had twice as many points as the Knicks (97-47).
Individual statistics don't really mean much for either team in such a lopsided contest. For the record, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce led Boston with 21 points each, Kevin Garnett had eight points, 11 rebounds and four assists in less than 23 minutes and Eddie House scored 15 points, all of them coming on three point shots. Robinson ended up with 11 points after his late heave, the only Knick to reach double figures. Zach Randolph (four points) shot 1-10 from the field and Eddy Curry (four points) shot 2-11 from the field; it is difficult to imagine two All-Star caliber post players performing any worse than they did.
posted by David Friedman @ 7:36 AM