The Knicks lost to the Celtics, 115-111, in overtime, in a game they definitely could have won.
New York is now one game below .500 and has not defeated the Celtics in Boston since Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson and David Lee were all on the team.
They came so close to getting the win, but the 12 turnovers that Baron Davis and Jeremy Lin had did not help. The team had 22 turnovers while Boston only had 14. The Knicks shot 44 percent from the field and 44 percent from long distance, which is acceptable, but if the team would have taken a few more high percentage shots or protected the ball better, they could have won.
The major reason the Knicks lost the game is because Rajon Rondo likely had the best all around game of any player in the NBA this season. He played 47 of 53 possible minutes, scored 18 points, dished out 20 assists and pulled down 17 rebounds. The only other player to have at least 15 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists in a game is Jason Kidd, who has done it twice.
Rondo is a top five point guard in basketball, but the Knicks should have done a better job at limiting his rebounding opportunities, as well as the amount of times that he set up his teammates for easy baskets.
The other main reason that the Knicks lost is that Lin has his second off game of the season. He only shot 6-16 and had six turnovers. He did help the team have a chance towards the end of the fourth, but he also took a few shots that he did not have a chance of making.
During the Knicks’ first possession they had perfect ball movement as everybody touched the ball except Landry Fields, which led to a right elbow jumper by Amar’e Stoudemire, who finished with 16 and 13 rebounds. The Knicks would score the games first five points and then the Celtics would go on a 12-0 run, capped by a drive to the basket by Rondo.
Lin picked up two early fouls causing Baron Davis to come into the game with 8:30 remaining. He would then promptly nail a deep three to give the team some momentum.
Mickael Pietrus came in off the bench and quickly made a 3-pointer to stretch their lead over the Knicks to 21-12.
The Knicks would take a 24-21 lead off a steal and fast-break dunk by JR Smith. He is a dangerous player in the open court. On their next possession Davis threaded the needle to find Jeffries for a layup.
They would finish the quarter strong, with the hustling and playing solid defense leading to a two-point lead, 29-27. Davis played nine extended minutes and had an impressive four assists.
To help the Knicks go up 36-32 Iman Shumpert showed his explosiveness as he took a 10-foot jumper that went off the front rim and was able to get the rebound and lay it in at the same time. Lin and Shump, who are the two rookies that are playing right now, would find each other for an impressive alley-oop to give the team a four-point lead.
To give the Knicks an eight point cushion, 46-38, Lin made a perfect pass to Melo for an easy layup. A few minutes earlier they tried a similar play, but Lin led Melo too much on his pass leading to a turnover.
Lin got called for a questionable offensive foul with 1:35 remaining in the half. The Knicks were leading by nine, but that was his third foul and fourth turnover.
At halftime, the Knicks had a 56-51 lead even though they had 14 turnovers. The reason for their five-point advantage was that they had shot 56 percent from the field and had converted all of their free-throws. The bench scored 23 points and the Celtics only shot 33 percent from 3-point range.
Lin passed the ball to Chandler that should have led to a dunk, but Chandler was not able to handle it and the ball went out of abounds. Lin had a few turnovers and the Knicks did not play defense like they did in the first half, which led to a 68-62 Celtics lead mid way through the quarter.
In what can be considered a major mismatch, Lin was guarding Pierce, which led to an easy layup when Pierce got the ball. Lin should only be guarding the other teams point guard.
Chris Wilcox made a fast-break layup, after goaltending was called on JR Smith, to make the score 80-65. Pierce previously made a three as the Knicks were not playing at all like they did in the first half.
The Knicks picked up their play a little in the last minute of the third, helped by Shumpert’s energy and a three by Novak, to reduce the Celtics lead to eight points.
Novak made his fourth three-pointer of the game to pull the Knicks within six points. When he has any space he is basically automatic. Shumpert then had a powerful dunk, but he was called for a technical foul. Even though the refs made a questionable call, it is still surprising that Shumpert would get one.
Lin had a critical hustle play with 2:25 remaining as he almost had a turnover but was able to get the ball back near half-court and drive to the hoop for an impressive reverse lay-up. On the next possession he nailed an open three to make the score 96-95, Celtics. He really knows how to step up his game in crunch time.
Novak made two clutch free throws with 18 seconds remaining to give the Knicks a three-point lead. Pierce would then make a three from the top of the key to tie the game at 103. He has made so many high-pressure shots in the fourth quarter against the Knicks in his career.
Melo, behind his 11 points in the fourth quarter, had a chance to win the game, but missed a baseline jumper.
Ray Allen went on a five-point surge midway through OT as he made a 3 followed by a layup in transition assisted by Rondo. That was Rondo’s 20th assist as the Knicks needed to be better at containing him.
The Knicks would go on to lose because the obviously could have reduced Rondo’s production, but Pierce dominated like usually against them. They were not able to execute the pick-and roll as they have been able to in previous games, which is not very surprising since Boston is one of the best teams at defending it.
This was an important game for the Knicks to win because it will probably be a close race between these two teams for the Atlantic Division Championship. They are a completely different team than when they played the Celtics a few weeks ago and hopefully they will be able to beat their rivals on April 17th.
They play in Dallas on Tuesday, who they beat by seven points when they played at MSG.