Knicks lights-out shooting too much for Celtics, 118-110


Knicks lights-out shooting too much for Celtics, 118-110

NEW YORK Right corner. Left corner. Right wing. Left wing.

It didn't matter where the New York Knicks were shooting 3's from. Just about everyone of them ended up in the same place - bottom of the net.

And that more than anything else, resulted in the Boston Celtics losing 118-110, to the Knicks.

Boston came into the game as the league's top team in 3-point percentage defense with opponents shooting just 29.1 percent against them this season.

Somebody must have not told the Knicks, who blistered the Celtics in the first half on 14-for-21 shooting on 3's.

But the Celtics, as they have done time and time again, managed to make things interesting in the third quarter as they trimmed New York's lead down to as little as 10 points on multiple occasions.

The C's couldn't break through, as New York went into the fourth quarter leading, 96-84.

Boston had their chances in the fourth to make it a single-digit game, but failed repeatedly to get the necessary basket or the much-needed defensive stop.

Boston finally got the Knicks lead into single digits following a pull-up jumper by Paul Pierce (43 points) with 4:04 to play, making it a 112-104 game.

The C's run was aided by Carmelo Anthony being on the bench after picking up his fifth personal foul early in the fourth.

Pierce continued to carry the C's on the comeback trail, as he drew a foul driving to the basket. He made both free throws with 3:07 to play, cutting New York's lead to 112-106.

But the Knicks responded with what else? a 3-pointer that put them up by nine points. A lay-up by Rajon Rondo was followed by another Knicks 3-pointer which made it a 10-point game with 2:03 to play.

Boston has managed to compensate for having a man or two down before, but New York's three-guard offense hit the Celtics exactly where they were most vulnerable.

The C's were hoping to have Ray Allen (ankle) back, but he was ruled out shortly before tip-off. Boston was also without Mickael Pietrus who had swelling his right knee and was sent back to Boston before the game.

Without those two, the Celtics were without their best perimeter scorer off the bench (Allen), as well as their best perimeter defender (Petrius) at the wing position.

To the Knicks credit, they recognized this shortcoming of the Celtics and took full advantage of it with crisp ball movement and a barrage of 3-pointers from all points on the floor.

Boston tried to keep the game within striking distance by launching a few 3s of their own, which included a pair of 3s from Rajon Rondo in the first half.

But New York's seemingly non-stop diet of 3-point basket after 3-point basket, buried the Celtics in the kind of first half hole that few teams ever climb back out of and become competitive, let alone rally for the win.

Bruins need to "find a way to start playing with a lead"

Bruins need to "find a way to start playing with a lead"

BOSTON -- There’s only so long that a team can hope to thrive, or even survive, in the NHL if they’re constantly chasing the game on the scoreboard, and chasing the puck after digging themselves a hole. The Bruins have been that team in the first couple of weeks during the regular season, and made it five times in five games that they’ve given up the game’s first goal in an eventual 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden.

It’s a pattern that is long past getting old to Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who can’t seem to play the front-runner this season despite three comebacks that have allowed for a 3-2-0 record overall this season.

“I hope it’s not a habit. It’s certainly not what we’re looking for, but there’s no doubt. I think it’s pretty obvious that with the amount of games we’ve played, five games, we haven’t scored first,” said Julien. “We talked about that this morning, trying to get that first goal, and it hasn’t happened yet.”

The start to the game wasn’t really the problem on Saturday night as it’s been a couple of times this season. Instead the Bruins enjoyed a handful of quality scoring chances in the opening 20 minutes against the Habs, but couldn’t come through and finish off those plays when it might have meant an early lead.

Instead it lead to what Julien termed a “terrible” second period that was flat, full of mistakes and ended with the B’s trailing Montreal by a couple of goals. The Bruins scratched and clawed their way to making it a one-goal game in the third period, but that was as close as the Black and Gold would get in losing their ninth straight home game to the arch-rival Canadiens.

“It’s kind of been a story about how things are going for us this far, we’ve got to find a way to start playing with a lead. If you don’t capitalize on your chances, you see what happens when you come out [flat] in the second period,” said Torey Krug, who finished a game-worst minus-3 in the loss for the Bruins. “We had another poor second period and you know it’s kind of… you got to make sure that we put our hand on that and it doesn’t become a thing for the team this year. You see that when you don’t capitalize on chances early, that’s what’s going to happen.”

It’s been a positive development that the Bruins have shown the willingness and backbone to fight back into games after early deficits, and they showed that quality once again on Saturday night by scoring a couple of goals in the third period to keep things close. But the Bruins would be best served if they can start lighting the lamp a little earlier in these games, and see how the other half lives by playing with a comfortable lead every once in a while.