Celtics-Knicks review: What we saw . . .

Celtics-Knicks review: What we saw . . .
March 4, 2012, 11:26 pm
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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.

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