Lost in all the madness of last night's instant classic game between the Celtics and Knicks was the fact that the C's came up clutch on both ends of the court. Save for an errant Rajon Rondo pass in the final minute of the game, the green executed near flawlessly to bow their way out of Madison Square Garden with a win. Sure Paul Pierce's jumper was money once again, but the C's defense stopped the Knicks from scoring on 3 of their final 4 possessions. Considering that the Knicks dropped a total of 116 points while shooting well over 50% for the game, this was certainly the most impressive aspect of the game.
Amare Stoudemire had been on fire all night (all season truthfully) as well as his teammates. But in the final couple of minutes, save for a questionable Danilo Gallinari driving basket plus the foul, the Knicks were stifled by Boston's defense. Here's the game log:
- 1:39 Amare Stoudemire misses 17-foot jumper – Basic description that fails to mention how well Kevin Garnett guarded him. The Knicks clear the entire right side of the court (Amare's strong side) and with about 7 seconds on the shot clock, he opts to shoot a contested jumper over KG instead on trying to take him to the hoop. KG gets his left hand up, and Amare misses.
- 1:10 – Raymond Felton misses driving layup – After KG drew a foul and made both free throws on the prior possession, Felton took it to the basket and tosses up a wild attempt with KG and Ray Allen meeting him in the middle. The C's pounce on the miss and Ray drains the wide open three from the retreating Knick defense.
- 0:13 – Amare Stoudemire misses 4-foot jumper – On their prior possession, the Knicks tied the game with the aforementioned Gallinari old-fashioned three-point play. Here, Pierce recognizes that Amare wants to drive to the basket this time, plays him straight up in the lane and causes Amare to miss the point blank range shot. No easy feat considering how Amare was red hot all night.
Without question the amount of time that could/should have been on the clock is debatable. What isn't debatable is how clutch the Celtics played in the final two minutes in a tightly contested game all night.