The New York Knicks are hosting the Boston Celtics for Game 3 of their first round playoff series. With the experienced Celtics up 2-0, this game is pretty must-win for the new-look Knicks.
Below are completely raw, unedited game notes taken live from Madison Square Garden.
The Celtics started their usual: Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen at guard, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett at forward, and Jermaine O’Neal at center.
The Knicks started Toney Douglas and Landry Fields at guard, Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire at forward, and Ronny Turiaf at center. Knicks point guard Chauncey Billups remains out.
Celtics take early 9-0 lead until a Landry Fields jumper at 8:30.
Some Paul Pierce jawing led two fan chants to break out: “Paul Pierce sucks” and “*sshole.” Although the rhythm of the conflicting chants was off, the message was clear.
At 7:48 Ronny Turiaf was called for his second foul. He got tangled up with Jermaine O’Neal. Arm-hooking was happening, but it’s not clear who the primary culprit was.
Actor and comedian David Alan Grier is in the house.
After a Melo jumper made it 22-9 Celtics up, Kevin Garnett was called for an offensive foul due to a push on Bill Walker, which led to another Knicks bucket, igniting the crowd.
Melo is just 2-of-7 for four points.
Paul Pierce is hot early, shooting 4-of-5 for 12 points.
Melo scores again. Crowd gets louder. Celtics lead 22-13 but hte Knicks are playing with more energy. “Boston sucks!” explains fans in MSG.
Knicks keep waking up. A Shawne Williams three from the left corner makes it 23-16 Celtics. It’s a game, folks
“These refs suck!” chanted fans with a few seconds left in the quarter.
End of first quarter: Celtics 27, Knicks 20. Both teams shot 40 percent from the field and did little from three-point range. The difference was at the free throw line, where Boston shot 9-of-10 while the Knicks hit 3-of-4. Pierce scored 14, Rajon Rondo (1-of-5) had five for Boston. Melo had six points, Shawne Williams five for New York.
Amar’e Stoudemire fires a jumper early in the second quarter and everything about it is flat. He is returning from a back spasm problem and doesn’t look like himself yet.
“F*cking retire!” yells a fan at Ray Allen right after Ray nailed a fantastic three-pointer with a defender in his face. I’m thinking Allen will pass on that advice for now.
At 8:01 it’s Celtics up 34-29. The Knicks are up to 46.2% shooting now, but they’ve still only gotten four free throw attempts while the Celtics are 11-of-13 from the line.
Justin Tuck of the New York Giants is in the building. He’s a less physically intimidating version of myself.
Ray Allen is just nasty. He nails another three halfway through the second quarter, putting Boston up 10. Allen has 13 points now, including 3-of-3 from outside the arc. Melo, still trying to carry his flat squad, answers with a three, keeping it competitive.
The Knicks are backing off Rondo so much, Spike Lee may be the closest defender.
Loaded with weapons, the Celtics get contributions from many directions. Jermaine O’Neal, who you may remember was a real player, hit a beautiful contested jumper, keeping his team up nine with 2:27 left in the first half.
The Celtics continue to hold a slightly comfortable lead. A Kevin Garnett jumper from the left side made it 65-52 about four minutes into the quarter.
Rondo is emerging and dishing assists like crazy. He’s essentially given up on attempting to score.
Too many weapons for Boston. Jermaine O’Neal has tossed in a few buckets this quarter and now lead by 15.
Celtics screens are working wonders, especially against young Knicks like Fields.
“Sit down, Lawrence!” yells an angry fan at Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank, who has no chance of hearing him.
Pierce is on fire.
The Celtics continue to execute. With 2:49 left in the third, Rondo has nine points, nine rebounds and 14 assists.
Tough to find positives for the Knicks here. Ray Allen is going bonkers. The Celtics are clicking on both ends of the floor. And New York just looks lost at this point.
End of three quarters: Celtics 86, Knicks 63. Rondo has a triple-double: 11 points, 10 rebounds, 15 assists (four turnovers) and two steals. The only Knick doing any real scoring is Melo but he has 15 points on 16 shots. Stoudemire has been completely invisible.
I’m trailing off, here. Every time the Knicks flirt with making it a game, the Celtics execute and keep their lead around 16 points.
With 6:45 left, it’s a 20-point game. The crowd has been defused. Hope is mostly lost.
A Roger Mason three continues to maintain a bit of Knicks life, cutting it to 14. But the Knicks defense is simply unable to make stops in the second half. With 4:22, the Celtics hit 101.
Pierce is unguardable today.
Every Knick defender is a step slow. A Pierce J makes it 106-84 with 3:45 left.
I’m shutting down the laptop. Boston is going to take this.
Check InsideHoops.com later, after the game for a recap.
The Celtics beat the Knicks 113-96 and go up 3-0 in the best-of-seven series. The Knicks were never quite in this game, and every time they flirted with making it competitive, Boston would go on a quick 4-0 or 6-2 run and maintain their a lead of 14-17 points.
For the Celtics, Paul Pierce shot 14-of-19 for 38 points. Ray Allen hit 8-of-11 three-pointers and had 32 points. And Rajon Rondo racked up 15 points, 11 rebounds, 20 assists and two steals.
For the Knicks, Shawne Williams came off the bench to lead the team with 17 points. Carmelo Anthony shot just 4-of-16 for 15 points, 11 rebounds, six assists (but five turnovers) and two steals. Toney Douglas had 15 points on just six shots but dished a mere three assists. And Amar’e Stoudemire, playing hurt, was invisible, playing almost 33 minutes, shooting just 2-of-8 for seven points, three rebounds and little else.