By A. Sherrod Blakely
NEW YORK Paul Pierce had it going strong as he led the Celtics to a 113-96 win and a game-high 38 points. Ray Allen was no slouch, scoring 32 points which included eight 3-pointers.
They were the perfect 1-2 punch for the Celtics in Friday's 113-96 win.
Often overlooked on nights when Allen is making 3s and Pierce is playing the role of a professional scorer, is Rajon Rondo.
Rondo racked up his first triple-double of the postseason with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 20 assists.
"I thought Rondo had one of those great catcher games," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "He called a terrific game. When he does that, it allows us to run pretty much when we want to run."
The Celtics were indeed in attack mode Friday night as they outscored the Knicks 11-6 in fast-break points.
And leading that charge was Rondo, who is quick to credit the Celtics big men for doing a good job of freeing players like Pierce and Allen.
"Our bigs were getting Ray and Paul open," Rondo said. "That is what Doc (Rivers) has been preaching about."
Lately, Rivers has talked more about the need for his team to do a better job with the little things such as setting screens.
"Every team sets picks and somebody is getting open," Rivers said. "It makes us smarter to set picks for Ray and Paul but it was also the motion and ball movement, I thought, was even more important that got Ray shots."
Directing the C's motion and ball movement was Rondo, whose play on Friday was reminiscent to how he played at the start of the season.
"He is a good player," said Mike D'Antoni. "I am not going to take anything away from him, (but) when you have Ray Allen and Paul Pierce hitting shots like that, that is where your assists come from."