On a night when Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen all had the night off, the Celtics subs came through for them again, beating the Knicks 99-93 at Madison Square Garden. It wasn't all the bench though, because Doc still played Rondo and Perk along with Posey, Tony and Powe in the starting lineup. Rondo played 41 minutes and came up big with 23 points on 11-15 shooting to go with 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 steal. Doc said after the game that he will probably give Rondo the night off Wednesday and so wanted to play him big minutes tonight. James Posey also came up big as he finished with 15 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks in 41 minutes.
Sam played 30 minutes and scored 22 points, but shot only 7-18. Cassell and House are both very streaky scorers and can shoot you into a game or shoot you out of one just as quickly. Sam also pulled down 5 rebounds but didn't get any assists. Powe was back after missing 2 games with a foot injury and as usual, he got the tough play of the game. He finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 assist in 19 minutes. I am certain that Powe is going to be a factor for the Celtics in the playoffs.
Tony continues to struggle to find his way back to pre-injury form. He had 8 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists in 19 minutes but just isn't all the way back yet. Big Baby had a good game with 13 points and 9 rebounds. It was pretty funny to hear the Knicks broadcasters talking about how big Baby is and how he needs to lose weight and then they show Zach Randolph who is definitely even begger than Baby and not a word about his size. Gabe Pruitt played 6 minutes and finished with 1 point and 1 rebound but impressed me with his speed and defense. At one point, he stayed in front of Nate Robinson going full out up the court. Gabe has the potential to be something special.
The Celtics shot 48% while holding the Knicks to 40% from the field. The Celtics achilles reared its head again as the Celtics missed 8 free throws. They just can't do that in the playoffs where every possession counts. They did keep the turnovers down to 14 but even that may be too many in the playoffs, but much better than the 20+ they have been racking up lately. All in all, a nice win for a team that was said to have no bench in the beginning of the season.
We may have witnessed Isiah Thomas's finsl home game as a coach tonight as "Fire Isiah" chants sprung up throughout the Garden in the 4th quarter. The Knicks finished the season with a 15-26 home record, tied for the worst in franchise history. One final note on the Knicks: David Lee deserves better. I have always been impressed with this kid and how hard he plays all the time. I hope they either trade him or get him some help and a decent coach. On another front, the Pacers lost and so the Hawks clinched the 8th spot in the East and will be the Celtics 1st round opponent.