Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce Lead Celtics to 94-87 Victory Over Knicks

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Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce Lead Celtics to 94-87 Victory Over Knicks Final, Celtics 97-84: Doc Rivers has to be thrilled with this outcome, as the Celtics win convincingly despite playing their starters infrequently.

Rajon Rondo was the only starter who played over 24 minutes, and Shaq and KG both finished with under 20. KG was dominant when he played, though, finishing with 20 points and playing his usual lockdown defense. He and Paul Pierce are the biggest reasons the C's moved to 5-1 on the preseason.

Glen Davis had a solid game off the bench, finishing with 15 points and seven rebounds, and Nate Robinson finished with 13 points in almost 30 minutes.

Aside from Rondo's sore cheek, there wasn't much to dislike about this one from the Celtics' point of view. The C's will finish out their preseason schedule against the Nets on Wednesday, where the starters are likely to once again play sparingly.

Fourth quarter, 1:04, 94-83: The Celtics' backups aren't doing much offensively, but they're playing great defense. They're also being helped by the shot selection of the Knicks, who have clearly given up.

Robinson has scored 13 points and logged a lot of minutes this quarter, which is unsurprising considering the absence of Delonte West and Marquis Daniells.

Fourth quarter, 2:55, Celtics 89-91: The Knicks have apparently converted from a seven-seconds-or-less offense to a two-seconds-or-less offense, and seem content jacking up long threes. Most of them aren't falling, and the Celtics are maintaining a sizeable lead despite scoring infrequently.

Semih Erden is likely done for the night with four points and four rebounds, but played better than his stat line suggests. It's interesting that Erden has received so much playing time over Harangody tonight considering the latter's performance yesterday.

Fourth quarter, 5:38, Celtics 89-79: The Celtics have no starters on the floor, and most are unlikely to return.

Allen and Shaq were largely non-factors for the Celtics. Rondo wasn't much of a scoring threat, but did contribute with nine assists and eight rebounds.

Garnett and Pierce combined for 36 points, and each logged under 24 minutes.

Meanwhile, Mozgov has fouled out for the Knicks, meaning the Celtics should haven even easier time scoring inside.

Fourth quarter, 8:51, Celtics 81-75: Big Baby is having a very strong game off the bench, and has 15 points and 6 rebounds. Von Wafer is getting some minutes now as well, and has added a three pointer and a rebound.

Mozgov continues to be the only Knick who looks interested in playing defense.

End of third quarter, Celtics 76-72: The Celtics dominanted the last half of the third quarter, regaining the lead from the Knicks.

KG's night is likely done, and he finishes with 20 points and 4 rebounds. He kept the Celtics in the game before Pierce started to get hot. The Pierce-Gallanari matchup is a huge advantage for the C's.

Timofey Mozgov ended the quarter by making the defensive play of the game for the Knicks, stuffing a driving Paul Pierce as the clock expired. If Pierce didn't appreciate having Gallinari defend him for most of the game before, he certainly does after that play.

Third quarter, 2:22, Celtics 69-68: As good as Gallinari has been on offense, he's getting equally abused on defense. KG is up to 20 points and Pierce now has 16 as the Celtics have gone on an impressive run to regain the lead.

Third quarter, 4:29, Knicks 68-61: We're nearly two-thirds of the way through the third quarter, and Garnett is the only Celtic in double figures with 18 points, although Davis has 9 and Pierce has 8.

Felton (14), Chandler (12), and Gallinari (18) are all in double figures for the Knicks, and Randolph is fast approaching with seven points.

Third quarter, 7:32, Knicks 63-55: In a surprising move, Doc puts Rondo back into the game. Rondo is sporting a bandaid on his right cheek thanks to the elbow he took a few minutes earlier.

Meanwhile, Gallinari is breaking the game open for the Knicks. He's up to 18 points and has made several nice shots so far this quarter. He's also received some generous calls from the refs, including one that resulted in Pierce receiving a technical for arguing.

Ray Allen finally scores from the floor, giving him a total of three points on the night. You have to think he wants to put on a better showing in what is a homecoming of sorts for the former UConn Huskie.

Third quarter, 8:14, Knicks 56-48: Scary moment for Celtics fans as Rondo stays on the floor for several seconds after getting elbowed in the face by Randolph. Rondo walks off under his own power, but looks to be in pain on the bench.

Third quarter, 11:07, Knicks 49-46: All five starters are back out on the court for the Celtics to start the second half. The Knicks counter with Randolph, Gallinari, Felton, Turiaf, and Chandler.

Ray Allen misses a free throw after Randolph is called for a 3-second violation. In a related story, several pigs fly are spotted flying around the stadium.

KG scores the Celtics first points of the half on a nice pass from Shaq, who was double-teamed by Turiaf and Chandler.

Halftime, Knicks 45-44: The Knicks head into halftime with a one-point lead after Felton hits a long-distance three — his first of the game. Felton is the game's second-leading scorer with 12 points, trailing only Gallinari who has 13.

The Celtics had a chance to re-take the lead on the following possesion, but failed to do so. After a Robinson pass was defelected out of bounds, the Celtics were left with one second on the shot clock to score on the inbound. Ray Allen passed to a tightly-covered Harangody, who promptly shot the ball behind the backboard.

It's clear that Doc wants the starters to rest, but playing KG for a few more minutes could make a significant difference in the game. Garnett is 5 of 6 from the floor with 11 points, and the Knicks didn't appear to have an answer for him inside.

Second quarter, 0:49, Celtics 44-39: It's turning into the Shrek and Donkey show for the Celtics, as Davis and Robinson have combined for 16 of the team's 42 points.

Rivers has been true to his word, and the starters haven't played much since the first quarter. KG, Ray Allen and Shaq are still in single-digits for minutes.

Second quarter, 3:56, Celtics 40-37: Luke Harangody enters the game for the Celtics, replacing Erden.

Meanwhile, Gallinari sinks a three, gets a steal, and then foolishly passes the ball on a breakaway. That sequence would seem to sum up Gallinari's career to this point.

Second quarter, 6:14, Celtics 39-34: Robinson jumps about four feet in the air in an attempt to block Randolph, but is called for a foul. Robinson is the C's second-leading scorer with seven points. The way he's flying around the court, you can tell he enjoys playing against his former team.

Second quarter, 7:58, Celtics 55-54: Stephane Lasme is one of the few players on the court playing with any urgency, and has looked good in just over four minutes. He commited an offensive foul early, but then drew a charge and has since scored and grabbed an offensive rebound.

Second quarter, 9:20, Celtics 33-32: Play has turned pretty sloppy here, as the offensive fouls, missed shots, and a traveling call have slowed the game considerably.

Davis is fouled by Wilson Chandler — who has picked up three fouls in five minutes of play — and makes both shots as the Celtics finally re-take the lead.

First quarter, 0:18, Knicks 30-29: The Celtics pull within one as Semih Erden scores over Anthony Randolph. Ronny Turiaf is fouled on the other end but misses both free throws.

First quarter, 2:41, Knicks 28-23: Robinson makes an immediate impact, hitting a three on his first offensive touch.

Felton continues to impress as well, sinking a deep two-pointer. He leads the Knicks with nine points.

Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and Ray Allen have combined for three points so far, and Rondo has been shut out. That's going to have to change if the Celtics want to pull closer by the end of the first. 

First quarter, 4:24 Knicks 23-20: Nate Robinson is the Celtics' first sub, coming into the game for Ray Allen. Allen was 0-3 from the floor, but did sink a free throw on a technical foul call.

First quarter, 5:45, Knicks 21-15: It's been said before and it will be said again, but Danilo Gallinari has never seen a three he didn't like. He's already attempted four just over six minutes into the game, and has sunk two of them.

Meanwhile, Garnett leads the C's in scoring with nine points. It doesn't appear as though the Knicks have an answer for the Celtics' big men to this point.

First quarter, 6:25, Knicks 18-13: Raymond Felton has set the pace in this one so far, netting seven of the Knicks' 15 points and drawing a foul. Ray Allen has played him tough, but Felton is still knocking down shots.

7:40 p.m.: The Celtics catch a break as the Knicks announce that Amare Stoudemire won't play tonight as Mike D'Antoni looks to rest his star player.

The Celtics win the opening tipoff, and KG scores the games' first points on an offensive rebound after Ray Allen misses a three.

7:05 p.m.: More reports say that Jermaine will dress but is unlikely to play. He apparently injured his hand by falling on it.

Nate Robinson is also nursing an injured shoulder, but will play.

7 p.m.: Word out of Hartford is that the Celtics will be without Marquis Daniels tonight, who is dealing with a shoulder injury, and that Jermaine O'Neal is a gametime decision with a hand injury. Doc said that the starters won't play big minutes tonight either.

6:30 p.m.: The Celtics are seeking their second preseason win against the Knicks in a four-day span on Saturday night, and should have some more help up front this time around.

Shaquille O?Neal, Glen Davis, and Delonte West were all unavailable for the Celtics? 104-101 win on Wednesday night, but O?Neal and Davis are both expected back for Saturday night's matchup.

Getting the two big men back should help prevent Amare Stoudemire from repeating the 30-point performance he unleashed on the C?s earlier in the week.

The Celtics should also benefit from receiving more playing time from Kevin Garnett, who was ejected after just 10-plus minutes during the first Celtics-Knicks preseason matchup. Garnett played under 15 minutes during the Celtics? 117-114 win over the Raptors on Friday, and should have fresh legs for tonight?s battle.

It won't hurt to see captain Paul Pierce knock down a few clutch shots as well — as he sunk the game winner in Wednesday night's victory.

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