Celtics Live Blog: Paul Pierce Scores 30 Points as C’s Survive 91-89 Victory Over Knicks


Celtics Live Blog: Paul Pierce Scores 30 Points as C's Survive 91-89 Victory Over Knicks

End of game, Celtics win 91-89: Mickael Pietrus gave the Celtics one last hero, sitting in Steve Novak's grill as the shooter from Marquette struggled to get off a shot. Garnett tapped Novak's miss out to midcourt and time expired on the Celtics victory.

Fourth quarter, :04.9, Celtics 91-89: The Celtics got the stop they needed, although Pierce was only able to convert one of the two free throws after the Knicks' intentional foul. Anthony and company have a lot of time to tie or possibly win the game.

Fourth quarter, :14.4, Celtics 90-89: Take it off the board. After one of the longest reviews in NBA history (unofficially), the referees ruled Pierce did not get the shot off. The Knicks will have the ball after the shot clock violation.

Fourth quarter, :14.4, Celtics 93-89: In a downright absurd play, Pierce lost the ball on an isolation play, got it back and barely got off a step-back 3-pointer as the shot clock expired.

The officials went to review, but the replay looked fairly conclusive. Not sure Pierce could repeat the play, but that one counted.

Fourth quarter, 1:26, Celtics 90-89: Hold off on that celebration, Celtics fans.

It quickly returned to a one-point game on an alley-oop from Shumpert to Chandler, and Fields finished off a steal-and-dunk. The music in the building is loud, but the crowd seems quiet.

Fourth quarter, 1:57, Celtics 90-85: Hello, Knicks. My name is Ray Allen. I'm the NBA's all-time leader in 3-pointers. I've played in 10 All-Star games and will probably one day be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

You might want to cover me in the fourth quarter.

Allen dropped another trey, then passed up a 3 out of a wild scrum to take it to the hoop for a baseline layup. The basket set off a party in the Garden, where the fans can feel another victory and the Knicks have to feel that old sinking feeling.

Fourth quarter, 4:24, Celtics 82-79: Relatively quiet for most of the game, Allen re-introduced himself to the Knicks with a go-ahead triple.

The clutch basket gave the Celtics their first lead since 3.6 seconds reamined in the first quarter. It was Allen's second 3-ball of the game, but the Knicks were highly upset at a series of calls up to that point.

D'Antoni picked up a technical and Chandler possibly could have as well. It appeared they were arguing the previous out-of-bounds play, which they felt should have been their ball.

Fourth quarter, 5:49, game tied 79-79: Wilcox subbed out to a standing ovation from the TD Garden crowd in recognition of his six-point, four-rebound performance to help the Celtics get back into the game.

Anthony continued to find his own shot with a go-ahead jumper before Bass, Wilcox' fellow frontcourt battler, hit a deep jumper to re-tie the game.

This one has all the trappings of a Knicks-Celtics game. Bradley has played the whole fourth quarter so far in a roll of the dice by Rivers that has paid off. The Knicks' penetration was virtually shut down through the first six minutes.

Fourth quarter, 7:11, game tied 77-77: Wilcox got a feel for how the Boston crowd responds to hard play when he grabbed an offensive rebound and got fouled. Each of his two free throws drew huge cheers and ultimately tied it up with New York.

Fourth quarter, 8:15, Knicks 77-75: The net result of Bass' play wasn't so bad for the Celtics. Stoudemire hit his freebie and Bass hit both of his, pulling the C's within two points.

Fourth quarter, 8:24, Knicks 76-73: A not-so-smart reaction by Bass might cost the Celtics at least a point. Bass slipped into the lane and took a pass from Pierce before being fouled hard by Stoudemire. Instead of just walking to the free throw line, Bass bumped Stoudemire as he walked by, drawing a technical foul.

The Celtics will need every last ounce of offense and defense to get a win, and that move by Bass was not very wise.

End of third quarter, Knicks 72-69: Hustle often pays off and it paid off for Wilcox and the Celtics late in the third.

Anthony's three-point play gave the Knicks a 10-point edge and threatened to put the game away until Pierce responded with that 3. Then Wilcox came up with two hustle plays. He earned two free throws, hitting both, then scooped up a Pierce miss and put the ball in the hoop as time expired.

The Celtics have a manageable three-point deficit going into the final 12 minutes despite shooting just 42 percent and having only 12 free throw attempts to the Knicks' 20 foul shots.

Third quarter, 1:28, Knicks 72-65: Anthony was whistled for a foul in an admirable non-foul call. Anthony tried hard to sell a foul by Rondo while falling out of bounds, but the refs did not bite on the flop.

Pierce hit a 3 on the ensuing possession and the Celtics refuse to go quietly.

Third quarter, 2:49, Knicks 69-60: 'Melo started to do as 'Melo does, and that's score in bunches.

Anthony heated up with back-to-back jumpers and added two free throws that gave the Knicks an 11-point lead. Rondo finally started to work his way into the offense, hitting a long jumper and slicing across the lane for a floater.

The Celtics need Rondo to force more penetration to keep the Knicks from running away. His tendency to throw two to three bad passes a game has been made worse by his layoff, by the looks of it. He attempted two uncatchable passes to Chris Wilcox in the post and then fired the ball out of bounds out of a double-team when he was attempting to pass to Pierce.

Third quarter, 7:54, Knicks 65-55: Pierce was the only Celtic to find the bottom of the net in the first three-plus minutes of the third quarter, during which time the Knicks extended their lead to double digits.

Rondo finally ended the scoring drought for the rest of the Celtics with a driving layup at the 8:38 mark. By that time, Chandler and Stoudemire already had two baskets each.

The Celtics seemed to lean too heavily on Rondo to run the offense as though he was never injured. Pierce got away a bit from the playmaking that made the Celtics' offense so effective in Rondo's absence.

Halftime, Knicks 55-49: The worst type of matchup for the Celtics involves athletic wing players and guards, and the Knicks are just that type.

As unsightly as New York's style of play might be, the combination of Anthony, Shumpert and Fields is trouble for the Celtics. Pierce and Allen are both older than their matchups and Rondo is playing for the first time in eight games with a sprained wrist.

Shumpert and Fields torched the Celtics for 28 combined points the last times these teams played. They only had five and nine points, respectively, in the first half of this game, but the Celtics' 14 fouls committed (compared to nine fouls drawn) reveals how much the Celtics struggled to keep the Knicks from getting the shots they wanted.

The Good: Kevin Garnett is a better offensive player than many people give him credit for at this point in his career, and he is still capable of stretches like his first half. The Big Ticket scored 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting with four assists. … Carmelo Anthony set the pace for another 30-point game against the Celtics with 15 first-half points. He went 4-for-7 from the field and missed only one of his seven free throw attempts. He was also 1-for-2 from downtown and had two rebounds and no turnovers. … Tyson Chandler was all over the place, as he often is. The defensive-minded big man had six rebounds, three steals and one blocked shot. As a bonus he went 4-for-7 from the field and 2-for-4 from the line for 10 points.

The Bad: Rajon Rondo can't be expected to come back after missing eight games and play at an All-Star level. Still, some of his fumbling on offense and poor decisions have led to easy Knicks buckets, even if Rondo was only saddled with two official turnovers in the first half. … At least there's hope Rondo will turn it around. Jared Jeffries probably can't make that claim. The 30-year-old Indiana product went 1-for-5 from the floor and committed two fouls in 14:24.

The So-so: Amare Stoudemire is a supremely talented scorer, which he showed by scoring nine points on 4-of-7 shooting. He added six rebounds as well, but he also spent most of the time guarding Garnett while the 35-year-old was putting together his excellent offensive half. … Paul Pierce shared the game lead in scoring with Anthony at 15 points and chipped in four assists, but the Celtics forward went just 4-for-10 shooting and committed two needless fouls in the last 39.5 seconds.

Second quarter, 3:10, Knicks 45-37: Shumpert comes into every game ready to shoot and his latest appearance was no different.

Shumpert swished a jumper to give the Knicks their largest lead at nine points. Pierce answered with a 3 to pull the Celtics back within six, but the Celtics have been laboring for every basket. Their field goal percentage began inching downward and were barely any better getting to the line. Pierce had two free throws in the Celtics' only trip to the line in the first nine minutes.

Second quarter, 5:48, Knicks 38-32: They don't have to reserve a spot for Jeremy Lin's plaque in Springfield — sorry, Crimson fans — but Lin is not completely wrapped up in trying to get his own shot. That's a unique characteristic on this Knicks team.

Lin missed all three shots he took in 6:36 at point guard, , but he registered two assists and one turnovers while at least trying to create shots for his teammates.

Rondo has looked less sharp than usual, when he typically is two or three plays ahead of the competition. He telegraphed a pass to Allen that Bill Walker easily read and turned into a dunk. A 3-pointer by Iman Shumpert, a pure scorer who is still trying to develop point guard skills, gave the Knicks their largest lead of the game at six points.

Second quarter, 8:43, Knicks 33-29: The Knicks' ability to get to the line helped them take the lead in a matchup of equaly effective offenses so far.

The Knicks hit 11 of 26 from the field and the Celtics were 12 for 25, but the Knicks made four times as many trips to the charity stripe. New York is 10-for-12 from the line whilethe Celtics are 2-for-3.

Garnett has played one of his best offensive games so far, connecting on six of his seven shots for a game-high 13 points.

End of first quarter, Knicks 28-27: Sometimes there is a stretch of plays that seemed unlikely on their own, let alone all together in a matter of a half-minute.

After Garnett, who has attempted five 3's in each of the past two seasons, connected for his second trey in two games, Chandler, a career 63 percent free throw shooter, dropped two foul shots.

Then Pierce drew a three-shot foul on Lin, who was trying to take the Knicks' foul to give. After Pierce hit two of three, Lin was fouled taking an off-balance shot at the buzzer and hit both free throws to give the Knicks a one-point lead after one.

Yes, that was all in the final 30 seconds, and it was a weird 30 seconds.

First quarter, 2:11, Knicks 24-18: Pietrus got a few tough calls defensively with a reach-in against Fields and a shooting foul against Anthony, but he made a hustle play to chase down Fields on a fastbreak. Fields missed the lay-in and then wrestled with teammate Jeremy Lin for the ball before losing it out of bounds.

Lin's appearance is the first in Boston as a Knick for the former Harard star.

First quarter, 2:38, Knicks 22-18: The Carmelo Anthony fans know and love (or hate) made his arrival late in the first quarter.

After taking just two shot attempts in the first five minutes, Anthony took two shots in less than a minute. His 3-pointr and short jumper bookended a Tyson Chandler dunk that put the Knicks ahead 22-15.

Pietrus answered with a 3 of his own.

If there's one thing Anthony showed on Christmas Day by scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter, it's that he gets up for these Celtics-Knicks matchups. His eight points show he may be on his way to another huge scoring night.

First quarter, 5:19, game tied 13-13: Each team made its run, with the Celtics answering the Knicks' 6-2 flurry with an 8-2 stretch.

Pierce finished with a strong right-handed dunk on the break off a bounce pass from Rondo, who had three assists and no turnovers in the first 7:41.

Anthony was a surprise distributor early, handing out two assists in the first three minutes. We'll see how long that lasts.

First quarter, 6:06, Celtics 13-9: Brandon Bass replaced Kevin Garnett, who was the Celtics' most effective player in the early going.

Rondo showed some signs of his eight-game layoff, fumbling a couple passes. Garnett capitalized on a matchup with Stoudemire to score six quick points, two on turnaround jumpers and one on a baseline reverse layup.

7:45 p.m.: Celtics fans who want to see franchise history made may want to pick up tickets for Tuesday's game against the Bobcats.

Or if they're extremely optimistic, they can still try to get into the TD Garden on Friday.

Pierce is 60 points shy of tying Larry Bird for second on the Celtics' career scoring list. Pierce is already the franchise's leader in 3-pointers, free throw attempts and free throws made. Barring a serious injury, he should surpass Robert Parish for the second-most games in Celtics history sometime next season. Pierce is also slated to pass Bill Russell this season for No. 2 in minutes played among Celtics all-time.

John Havlicek is the Celtics franchise's leader in points, minutes and games played.

Pierce has always been known as a scorer and a gamer, so none of these marks are a huge surprise. One thing fans might not be aware of is how high Pierce sits on the franchise's rebounding list. He is third all-time in rebounds for the Celtics, ahead of Dave Cowens, Kevin McHale and Cedric Maxwell. He's eighth on the team list in offensive rebounds, just ahead of Kendrick Perkins.

7:30 p.m.: He's back.

Rondo will start against the Knicks, ending a two-week layoff due to a sprained wrist suffered Jan. 18 against the Raptors. That was also the last time the Celtics had their entire preseason projected starting lineup intact.

The projected starters are below.

Tyson Chandler
Amare Stoudemire
Carmelo Anthony
Landry Fields
Iman Shumpert

Jermaine O'Neal
Kevin Garnett
Paul Pierce
Ray Allen
Rajon Rondo 

6 p.m.: Rondo was listed as a game-time decision for Friday's game against the Knicks after the morning shootaround.

Rondo, 25, has been listed as day-to-day with a sprained right wrist for the last eight games. The Celtics are 6-2 with Avery Bradley starting at the point.

8 a.m.: Contrary to how it may seem, the Celtics are not required to play without at least one All-Star member every time they take on the Knicks.

The Celtics, who were without Paul Pierce in the season opener at Madison Square Garden, might be missing another key member Friday in point guard Rajon Rondo. Reports earlier in the week indicated Rondo could be back as soon as Friday, but he has missed the last eight games with an injury to his right wrist.

The Knicks have lost four of their last five games, including a three-point home loss to the Bulls on Thursday.

Join us for updates and analysis during the game, which is set to tip off at 8 p.m.

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