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‘Melo vs. Garnett sideshow is dull, Knicks’ hard-fought win is not

Jan 24, 2013, 11:56 PM EDT

New York Knicks v Boston Celtics Getty Images

Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett played nice. In fact, in the third quarter Garnett went to the floor trying to complete an alley-oop and it was Anthony who was there to lend a hand and help him back up. There were no fireworks, no ejections, nothing. They may not be going out for a beer together afterwards, but the sideshow turned out to be nothing special.

But the game itself was special. Or at least a lot of fun.

If Rasheed Wallace were there with New York, he would have said “both teams played hard.” There was nearly the passion of a playoff game from both teams.

The Knicks just played a little less sloppy and hit their shots down the stretch, so they came away with an 89-86 win.

That would be five straight losses for the Celtics, who drop two games below .500 but remain the eighth seed in the East. The second seed Knicks improved to 26-14 on the season.

Anthony got his points but the improved Celtics defense made it rough on him — ‘Melo had 28 points but was just 11-of-28 shooting on the night. Without Raymond Felton (still out with a broken finger) the Knicks end up resorting to a lot more ‘Melo isolation late in the clock and that is just never efficient. Wasn’t in Denver, wasn’t last season, isn’t now. The Celtics defense as a whole looked active and energetic, holding New York to 38.6 percent shooting.

Their offense just couldn’t do anything about it.

Rajon Rondo is trying to get the offense moving, and he had 23 points (on 19 shots), 11 assists and 10 rebounds — his fourth triple-double of the season. But take him out of the equation and the rest of the Celtics shot 36.8 percent. Rondo is the straw that stirs the Celtics drink, but there is only so much he can do to bring everyone along.

Look at their possessions in the final four minutes and you see how it is all Rondo: Rondo hits an elbow pull up jumper; Rondo drove and drew a foul from Amare Stoudemire; Paul Pierce passes up good look 18 footer to tie it instead passing to Avery Bradley for a corner three he missed; Garnett misses a contested midrange jumper; J.R. Smith reaches in and tips the ball on a handoff to Rondo and it goes out of bounds off Boston; Rondo nails a step-back 17 footer; Pierce boots the ball out of bounds as he is hounded by Smith.

Smith also had a key three late. It was a true gunner’s shot — he was 2-of-15 on the night when he caught the ball but he let it go without hesitation or memory of the past misses and he drained it.

This was the kind of ugly, defensive-minded game the Celtics won in recent years. Their defense would carry them through their offensive lulls. This year it’s just not working, the offensive lulls are too long, the defense isn’t consistent enough.

The Knicks, they are winning ugly. And in a game that felt like the playoffs they will take it.

  1. tampajoey - Jan 24, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    Hey Kurt… your wife tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios.

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:49 AM

      Wow, I know you have not met my wife.

      • rickyspanish - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:42 AM

        I can’t tell if you’re sticking up for your wife or making fun of her, either way, it’s funny.

  2. badintent - Jan 25, 2013 at 12:59 AM

    JR 3 for 16 ? feeling his inner Kobe is he ? Glad melo and KG didn’t want to sit for 3 games for a little rumble in the jungle BS. Stu Jackson is bummed.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Jan 26, 2013 at 1:16 PM

      Made the clutch shot when it mattered.

  3. jessethegreat - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:02 AM

    I am in no way a Celtics fan or a big supporter of Rondo and his antics but I don’t see why there has been so much chatter about the Celts trading him. He is by far their best player. He’s the guy on that team you’d trust most taking the final shot. Like the article says, the offense goes thru him.

    • eventhorizon04 - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:09 AM

      There’s chatter about trading him because the team has considered trading him before, and he’s their most valuable trade asset.

      Ultimately, I doubt the Celtics trade him, but he’s been on the trading block before.

    • andyhr17 - Jan 25, 2013 at 5:33 AM

      I think anyone on the team is available. They would have to be absolutely blown away with a trade offer to get rid of Rondo, though.

      • borderline1988 - Jan 25, 2013 at 9:27 AM

        The reason he’s been on the trading block is b/c the Celtics don’t really see him being a team leader, a guy you could actually trust to lead you to a championship. On the other hand, his trade value is huge.

        He’s currently being held in check by the HOFs on his team..what happens in 3 years when he’s the veteran and is expected to motivate his younger teammates? Would you actually want Rajon Rondo being the role model on your team? Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

  4. dko83 - Jan 25, 2013 at 4:14 AM

    Would love to see these two teams meet in the playoffs. Would be a great series. Probably 7 games, both playing their best. We would all be winners to see it.

  5. nokoolaidcowboy - Jan 25, 2013 at 6:46 AM

    Seriously, what did we expect? Ever watch these guys try and fight? It’s hilarious! They act tougher doing the “Don’t hold me back, don’t hold me back” pose.

    Besides, unlike some other basketball wives, Anthony’s is one of those that actually has bikini photo shoots done of her to further her “acting” career along with a reality show where she is running around with her home girls (I stumbled onto it one night for a few minutes – don’t do it, it’s like watching a traffic accident but you never get that time back).

    It’s expected.

    • 1historian - Jan 25, 2013 at 11:35 AM

      Thanks for the warning but I must say that you probably have entirely too much discretionary time.

      So do I

      Have a good day

  6. fanofevilempire - Jan 25, 2013 at 7:26 AM

    keep stacking up wins, all while the injured players get rehab.
    they miss Felton and his pick and roll to Tyson.
    they have enough of a bench to patch it up until they heal up.
    I don’t know why people think the Knicks can’t make a run at the top seed.

    Boston looks old and slow.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Jan 26, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      Yeah, I don’t either. Big time slump, still only a game and a half back of Miami, who’s clicking on all cylinders while we’ve still YET to see our projected starting five play together, exactly halfway through the season, and only NOW getting it in game 41. We are better than Miami and have proven it, and will do so down the stretch.

  7. senorpapino - Jan 25, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    I think lost in all of this is Stoudemire’s performance. An efficient 15 points, 9 boards, 2 blocks, and only 1 turnover coming off the bench. If he does that with the 2nd unit on a regular basis, the Knicks will be very dangerous.

    • badintent - Jan 26, 2013 at 3:15 AM

      You’re right , he played well, next game with Boston, he gets the Honey nutt treatment.

  8. readysethike - Jan 25, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    i don’t know if Paul Pierce was tired or he was just showing his age. but he had two very crucial turnovers after a handoff with Terry and an easy pass from Rondo.

    he plays slow, and non chalant but in that situation rondo passed him the ball he was too careless and passive. J.R. Smith is an agressive defender and he should’ve known better to take better care of the ball once he got the pass. i hated seein that happen.

    • Kansachusetts - Jan 25, 2013 at 5:35 PM

      Pierce is the problem quite frequently. Actually, Kurt attributed one of Pierce’s fumbles to Rondo. He’s in a terrible shooting slump. He just can’t hold on to the ball when challenged. He is immense occasionally but his ball-handling skills have declined steadily over the last three years while his propensity for turnovers has increased.

      The problem is, who else can they go to in crunch time? KG, who was stunning at the beginning of the season has shot horribly recently too.

    • badintent - Jan 26, 2013 at 3:17 AM

      Paull has honeynuttois. The only known treatment for it is to throw marshmellows at KG.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Jan 26, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      He’s always been slow, with that remedial step back that seemingly no one can somehow block. But the Knicks play lockdown defense in the 4th and led to his fumblitis.

  9. dysraw1 - Jan 25, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    STAT was big last night i don’t see him staying on the bench with these type of performances, he the perfect bail out for Melo and he he can still carry the second unit

  10. yousuxxors - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    i want to see stat and felton pick n roll and melo play off the ball wiyh chandler sitting under the rim.

  11. drago2012 - Jan 25, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    Neither of these teams are going anywhere!!!! DAAAAAAA BBBUUUULLLLSSSSS!!!!!!!!!

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Jan 26, 2013 at 1:25 PM

      You really believe the Bulls are going to just go off the charts with Rose, huh? Their offensive efficiency peaked without him because they MUST move the ball and play as a team to score consistently. That all stops when he comes back.

      And let’s not even mention his defense.

  12. jerrysshadescleaner - Jan 25, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    Aww how sweet, i miss my dad telling me bout them bad boys of detroit, this is mr rogers bs now

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