Talking Points: Celtics 91, Knicks 89

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Talking Points: Celtics 91, Knicks 89

BOSTON Point guard Rajon Rondo told CSNNE.com that whenever he returned to the Boston Celtics lineup, he would be a mere shell of himself for a while.

He wasn't kidding.

Rondo, back in the starting lineup after missing eight straight with a right wrist injury, was among the Celtics to pick his game up in the second half as the Celtics rallied for a 91-89 win.

There were a bunch of big shots down the stretch for Boston, but none bigger - or as improbable - as Paul Pierce's 24-foot heave with 14.4 seconds to play.

On the shot, Pierce was stripped by Iman Shumpert. In the mad scramble for the ball, Pierce came up with it and just launched a shot towards the basket in hopes of beating the shot clock.

The shot seemed too good to be true.

And after the officials reviewed the play, apparently it was.

The replay showed Pierce got it off a split second after the shot clock expired.

That put the pressure to win on the Celtics' defense, which came through with just enough stops to extend their home court dominance over the Knicks to 10 in a row.

With the win, Boston (12-10) now finds itself two games over .500 for the first time this season, while the Knicks (8-15) continue to struggle having now dropped 11 of their last 13 games.

Much of the focus coming into the game was on Rondo, whose return seemed inevitable based on his participation in the C's shoot-around on Friday morning. He finished with seven points, seven assists and five rebounds.

As much as the attention leading up to the game was on his wrist, all eyes soon fell on him because of a different injury.

It was his right eye, which apparently got a little too close to Shumpert which resulted in a swollen eye that made Rondo look like Little Mac from Nintendo's Punch-Out.

Banged up wrist. A right eye that was blackening with each passing second.

It wasn't Rondo's best look.

And for most of the first half, it wasn't one of Rondo's better games, either.

Boston trailed 55-49 at the half, and Rondo had one point and three assists.

The second half saw a more aggressive Rondo, whose scoring helped the C's cut into a New York lead that reached double digits.

Boston found itself within one possession after a Chris Wilcox put-back basket as the third quarter came to an end.

The C's inched a little closer when Brandon Bass made a pair of free throws to cut New York's lead to 77-75.

Boston got even closer with a pair of Wilcox free throws that tied the game at 77 and later, a Bass jumper to tie the game at 79.

That's when the Big Three took over, with a Ray Allen 3-pointer giving the C's an 82-79 lead that it was able to maintain for the rest of the game.

Halftime stars, studs and duds: LeBron in foul trouble

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Halftime stars, studs and duds: LeBron in foul trouble

CLEVELAND – Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Game 4 between Boston and Cleveland in which the Celtics have a 57-47 halftime lead.

 

STARS

Avery Bradley

His aggressiveness at both ends of the floor has been key to Boston’s strong first half showing. He has 13 points on 5-for-13 shooting.

Kyrie Irving

With LeBron James in major foul trouble – he had four personal fouls in the first half – Irving was charged with picking up the slack, scoring 12 of his 18 points in the second quarter.

 

STUDS

Jae Crowder

He had the hot hand at the start of the game, and has been solid at both ends of the floor. He had 13 points on 4-for-5 shooting with four rebounds and three assists.

Kevin Love

He continues to get great looks from 3-point range, but the Celtics did a better job of limiting his long-range scoring opportunities. He had 10 points along with seven rebounds and three assists.

Kelly Olynyk

Making his first-ever playoff start, Olynyk had a solid half with eight points, four rebounds and three assists.

 

DUDS

LeBron James

He was 5-for-9 from the field with 10 points in the first half, but spent a large chunk on the bench after being whistled for his fourth personal foul with 6:46 to play in the half.

Washington anchor gives Markelle Fultz his first piece of Celtics apparel

Washington anchor gives Markelle Fultz his first piece of Celtics apparel

Last week, potential No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz retweeted a t-shirt design featuring him in a No. 20 Celtics jersey.

But now thanks to Carol Maloney of NBC4 in Washington, Fultz has his first piece of Celtics apparel.

Maloney obtained the C’s shirt at Game 7 between the Celtics and Wizards at TD Garden.

When she handed Fultz the shirt, he laughed and said, “I think the internet is going to go crazy when they see this.”