OFFSEASON

Celtics survive another thriller with Knicks, 96-93

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Celtics survive another thriller with Knicks, 96-93

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON The look on Doc Rivers' face didn't tell the full story of what just happened.

It was a sullen look, the kind you expect to see after a gut-wrenching loss.

But that was not the case, as the Celtics once again squeaked by the New York Knicks, 96-93.

Kevin Garnett scored the go-ahead basket with 13.3 seconds to play, and came up with a steal with 4.1 seconds remaining.

Delonte West made a pair of free throws with 0.6 seconds to play to seal the victory.

Boston has a 2-0 series lead, with the series now shifting to New York for Games 3 and 4 on Friday and Sunday, respectively.

But if you went by the emotions and words spoken by both Rivers and his players, you would have thought the C's lost by 30.

"We're not happy with the win, but obviously you'll take any one you get in the playoffs," said Rajon Rondo.

Said Paul Pierce: "We shouldn't be satisfied with the way we played. We've got a lot of things to clean up, but hopefully we can play better when we get to New York."

As Rivers left the media room and made his way back to the Celtics locker room, it was clear he wasn't overly pleased with how Game 2 was played by the C's.

"I'm not down," Rivers said. "Listen, we still won the game. But I just know we have to be better."

Especially when it comes to defending Carmelo Anthony.

One of the league's top scorers, Anthony put on the kind of scoring clinic you seldom see in a regular season game, let alone a playoff matchup.

He led all scorers with 42 points and 17 rebounds, the kind of one-man scoring effort that usually results in a victory.

New York needed everything Anthony had to give, especially when you consider he was without two-thirds of the Knicks' Big Three for most of the night.

Amar'e Stoudemire only played 18 minutes, and did not play in the second half because of back spasms. And Chauncey Billups (left knee) did not play at all after suffering a left knee injury in the closing seconds of Boston's 87-85 Game 1 win.

Billups told CSNNE.com prior to Tuesday's game that he would have an MRI performed on Wednesday.

"Of course there's concern (about when he'll return)," Billups told CSNNE.com. "Tomorrow, hopefully I'll have a better idea of what's going on."

While Billups' status remains unclear, one thing we do know:

When Rondo goes into attack mode, there's very little a team can do to slow him down.

And when you factor in a team like the Knicks that plays little to no transition defense, it opens up a plethora of scoring options for Rondo.

Rather than play his usual role as set-up man, Rondo took on a starring role as Boston's primary scorer with a number of baskets coming in transition.

"I tried to expose them because I didn't think they did a great job getting back in transition," said Rondo who had a career playoff-high 30 points along with seven assists and four rebounds.

With Anthony carrying them for most of the game, the Knicks remained within striking distance and at various stretches in the second half, were leading.

And like every game between these two this season, it ultimately came down to which team did the better job of executing at both ends of the floor.

Score one for the Green team.

"They're good at it," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said, referring to Boston's play down the stretch. "They've been together for a while and they understand what they have. They've just got so many weapons and it's tough."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

OFFSEASON

Celtics second in Larry Sanders’ Twitter poll for his next team

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Celtics second in Larry Sanders’ Twitter poll for his next team

Veteran forward Larry Sanders, who hasn’t played since December of 2014, has taken to Twitter to get feedback on “Which team do you believe will utilize my skills the best?”

So far, it’s his last team, the Milwaukee Bucks leading, with the Celtics edging the Cavaliers for second place.  

Sanders, 27, has been away from basketball after two drug-related suspensions and issues with anxiety and depression led him to accept a buyout from the Bucks.  The 6-11 Sanders was a solid rim protector. He averaged 1.8 blocks a game in his career. Could the Celtics, with an already crowded roster, take a flyer on him as a low-cost option?