The Knicks are a familiar foe, but Sunday will be different

672840.jpg

The Knicks are a familiar foe, but Sunday will be different

BOSTON Whenever the New York Knicks come to town, it's always a big deal.

But when the Boston Celtics face the Knicks on Sunday, well, let's say it'll be a bigger deal than usual.

Both teams are in a relatively tight race for the top spot in the Atlantic Division, and then there's . . . Jeremy Lin.

Much has changed for the Knicks' fortunes since the Harvard graduate burst onto the scene just a few weeks ago.

He has taken a Knicks team that was seemingly headed nowhere in a hurry on a run of success that now has them thinking beyond simply getting to the playoffs.

"They're playing with spirit," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "When you watch them, the ball is moving and all that stuff. But they're playing now, like they have a chance. They believe."

And Lin, more than any other Knicks player, is the reason for that.

Since he was inserted in the starting lineup against Utah on Feb. 6, the Knicks are 9-3.

"Lin has obviously taken over the world; that's dope," said Boston's Kevin Garnett. "You always like to see someone succeed at what they love. He plays with a lot of passion. But he's given not just that team, but that city, life. I haven't really followed him much or jumped on the bandwagon. That's not my style. But I keep an eye on it."

Garnett added, "He's definitely put a spark in the city, and there's no better city to spark up than New York."

Rivers hasn't seen too much of the Knicks this season, but when it comes to Lin . . .

"I have watched him," Rivers said. "Because you have no choice. He's fantastic. He's scoring the ball at a high rate; double-digit assists every night."

But if he were all the Celtics had to worry about, they'd be in pretty good shape.

In addition to Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks also have Baron Davis, who is healthy enough to play now, and they picked up J.R. Smith, who rejoins the NBA after spending most of this past season in the Chinese Basketball Association.

"That's an impressive amount of talent on one team," Rivers said.

And the team that the C's have faced twice this season will be much tougher to put away on Sunday.

"They're definitely a lot different based on what they're doing with Jeremy Lin, getting some healthy bodies back . . . they've been playing really well of late," said Celtics Captain Paul Pierce.

The same can be said for the Celtics, who remain undefeated following the break after Friday night's 10794 win. The 107 points equaled the Celtics' season-high for points scored (at Miami, Dec. 27, 2011) this season.

And with both coming in separated by just a half game, you can expect this game will be like most Boston-New York games and won't be decided until the final minute or two of play.

Pierce expects the game to be challenging, primarily because both teams have so much at stake.

"We're both aiming for the same thing; we're aiming for position right here," Pierce said. "We're both seventh and eighth seeds now. We're playing for the Atlantic Division. We got a lot to play for. They'll come with it, but we'll be ready."

Draw with Earthquakes extends Revolution's winless streak

revs_quakes_kei_kamara.jpg

Draw with Earthquakes extends Revolution's winless streak

SAN JOSE, Calif. - David Bingham had his sixth shutout of the season and the San Jose Earthquakes tied New England 0-0 on Wednesday night, extending the Revolution's winless streak to five games.

Bingham, who was tied for second in MLS soccer with 12 shutouts last season, had three saves - including a stop on Diego Fagundez's shot in the 86th minute.

The Revolution haven't scored since a 3-1 victory over Chicago on Aug. 9, a stretch of more than 270 minutes.

New England (6-11-8) had beaten San Jose three straight times.

San Jose (7-7-10) has just one loss in its last seven matches. 

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz the oldest to hit 30 home runs in a season

red_sox_david_ortiz_082416.jpg

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz the oldest to hit 30 home runs in a season

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays:

QUOTES:

"It's one of those freak things. You don't plan on it happening, but it's one of those things. So we'll just see what the results say and move on from there.'' - Andrew Benintendi on his knee injury.

"That's kind of a routine 3-1 play. Unfortunately, it comes at a time when you've got two outs and a guy on the move. But that's a routine play.'' - John Farrell on the deciding play in which Heath Hembree couldn't hold onto the ball at first.

"I felt good. I felt strong.I felt good out there the whole game.'' - Rick Porcello, asked how he felt going back out for the eighth inning.

"I think everybody in the ballpark knew that that ball was leaving.'' - Porcello, on the hanging curveball to Evan Longoria.

 

NOTES:

* The loss snapped a five-game winning streak against the Rays for the Red Sox.

* Three of the four Red Sox walk-off losses this season have occurred because of errors.

* The homer by Evan Longoria was his first off Rick Porcello in 40 career at-bats.

* Rick Porcello has now pitched seven innings or more in six straight starts, the longest run for a Red Sox starter since John Lackey did it in 2013.

* David Ortiz is now the oldest player to ever hit 30 homers in a season

* Ortiz has now reached the 30-homer, 100-RBI level 10 times with the Red Sox, including the last four years in a row.

* The loss was the first of Heath Hembree's career, in his 67th major league appearance.

* Dustin Pedroia tied a career high with two stolen bases, the 12th time he's swiped two bases in the same game.

 

STARS:

1) Evan Longoria

The Rays were down to their final five outs when Longoria struck, hitting a game-tying homer off Rick Porcello.

2) Brad Miller

Miller's two-run double in the third enabled the Rays to stay close until Longoria's homer tied things up five innings later.

3) Rick Porcello

Porcello gave the Sox length and was brilliant in getting out of some early jams before settling in through the middle innings.