Celtics-Knicks review: What we saw . . .

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Celtics-Knicks review: What we saw . . .

BOSTON The Boston Celtics escaped with a 115-111 overtime win over the New York Knicks, a game in which the Celtics got so many big contributions from so many key players.

Paul Pierce had a game-high 34 points, including the 3-pointer to force overtime. Rajon Rondo had a tripled double of 18 points, 17 rebounds and 20 assists - numbers the NBA hasn't seen in more than a decade.

That doesn't even factor in the 18-point, 10-rebound game for Kevin Garnett, or the 18 points Boston got from Brandon Bass who left the game for a spell after injury his ankle.

"Everyone stepped up," Rondo said. "Ray (Allen) and Brandon (Bass), P (Pierce), we all made special efforts when it counted."

Rondo's right.

There were a number of factors that helped the Celtics extend their winning streak to four in a row.

Here's a review of some we focused on prior to tip-off.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR - Of course much of the attention going into today's game will be on Harvard's own Jeremy Lin who is scoring and passing at an incredibly high rate. Yes, he puts up a bunch of big numbers - including turnovers. Although he only committed one turnover in New York's last game on Wednesday, he has turned the ball over 68 times in his 12 starts - the most by any player in their first 12 NBA starts since 1977 which is when turnovers became an official NBA statistic. The previous high was 64, set by Allen Iverson in 1996.

WHAT WE SAW - The Celtics did a good job of not allowing Jeremy Lin to ever get into any kind flow all game. He finished with 14 points, but did it on 6-for-16 shooting. In addition, he turned the ball over six times while only dishing out five assists. "They sent a lot of bodies and they had me take a lot of tough shots," Lin said. "I didn't get a lot of easy stuff today, but still in my opinion I should have finished a lot of those shots."

MATCHUP TO WATCH - Kevin Garnett vs. Tyson Chandler: Garnett continues to play out of his mind, out of position. The power forward-turned center has been a stalwart at both ends of the floor, scoring and defending like the old Garnett - and not just an older, Garnett. He has had back-to-back games with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, the fifth time he has done that as a Celtic but it's the first time since November 2008. ""Preference-wise, I don't like it," Garnett said of playing center. "I'm a 4 (power forward). I don't like - you know, it is what it is. I'll do whatever this team needs me to be, other than a cheerleader with pom-pons and some short-shorts." Chandler poses a different kind of challenge for Garnett. While the strength of most centers is usually the biggest concern for Garnett in the middle, Chandler's ability to run the floor well will be the biggest challenge for Garnett today.

WHAT WE SAW - Garnett continues to outplay his opposition, regardless of how younger or more athletic they may appear to be. Garnett delivered his 10th double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds and two blocked shots. Meanwhile, Tyson had eight points and 14 rebounds but for the most part, he didn't have nearly as much of an impact defensively as Garnett did.

PLAYER TO WATCH - During Boston's three-game winning streak, one of the more unsung heroes for the Celtics has been Chris Wilcox off the bench. In the last three games, Wilcox has averaged 8.7 points and 10.3 rebounds while shooting 60 percent (9-for-15) from the field. Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said Wilcox, more than anything else, is playing the role that he has to serve for the C's. "His role is pretty much defined," Rivers said. "His role is energy, rebounding, running the floor, setting picks, rolling, finishing. I mean, that's a simple role. But it's a hard role to do everyday, because it takes energy to do it."

WHAT WE SAW - Wilcox didn't play major minutes and didn't have a major impact on the game, but he did give the Celtics solid production when he was on the floor. He finished with six points on 3-of-4 shooting, to go with three rebounds.

STAT TO TRACK - The Celtics are coming off a 50-point night of points scored in the paint against New Jersey, the highest they had scored since they dropped 52 on the Knicks in the regular season-finale last April. One of the reasons the C's have to feel pretty good about their chances of scoring around the basket today, is because are not exactly a team filled with shot-blockers. In fact, New York ranks 28th in the NBA in blocks per game, with 4.2.

WHAT WE SAW - Boston continues to generate more and more offense around the basket. For the second straight game, the Celtics were able to hit the 50-point plateau in points scored in the paint, which speaks to how the C's are making a conscious effort to generate as much offense as possible in the paint.

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

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Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious.