In a very entertaining game, the NY Knicks edged the Celtics in their first NBA preseason game. Both teams played their starters for approximately 2 quarters and gave their young guys a lot of run. High scorer of the game was Carmelo Anthony with 23. Jared Sullinger led the Celtics with 14. The Celtics were narrowly out-rebounded 52-50 but the Knicks won on the offensive glass 15-8. The Celtics once again turned the ball over too much with 19 turnovers. Neither team shot the ball well with the Celtics shooting 41% and the Knicks shooting 37%. The Knicks shot 38 free throws to 33 for the Celtics. The Knicks had 44 points in the paint to just 34 for the Celtics. The Celtics got 56 points from their bench, with 40 of those points from players who will be in the regular rotation. That's good news for a team that struggled to score when the starters were out last season.
Doc started the game with Rondo, Terry, Pierce, Bass and KG. Of that unit, Jet played the most minutes at 29 and KG played the fewest with just 17. Pierce and Rondo played 26 minutes and Bass played 18. As was expected, Doc mixed and matched his lineups throughout the game with Bass, Green, Pierce, Jet and Rondo being one lineup he threw out there. Jeff Green once again was impressive in his 28 minutes of play, finishing with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block. He had the play of the game when he exploded to the hoop and dunked over Jason Kidd.
New York Knicks' Pablo Prigioni, top left, chases down a loose ball
against Boston Celtics' Jamar Smith, center, as Celtics' Dionte
Christmas, right, defends in the second half of an NBA preseason
basketball game on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, in Hartford, Conn. New York
won 98-95. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Bass and Sully are both playing for that starting power forward spot, with Bass starting this game. Sully once again had a very strong game and it seems that it will be impossible for Doc to keep him off the court, whether he starts or not. Bass finished with 5 points and 3 rebounds in 18 minutes. Sully played 25 minutes and finished with 14 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. He plays with the confidence of a veteran and just seems to have a nose for the ball and has a very strong post game.
Darko played just 7 minutes and finished with 3 points and 2 rebounds and is still making a solid case for the back up center spot. Courtney Lee came off the bench to score 11 points to go with 2 rebounds and 1 assist in 21 minutes. His ability to hit the corner 3 and his versatility are going to be very important for this team. Jason Terry got the start and scored 9 points, pulled down 3 rebounds to go with 4 assists and 1 steal. Rondo also had 9 points, 4 assists, and tied Sully and Downs with a team high 7 rebounds.
Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce (34) stops a shot attempt by New York
Knicks' Carmelo Anthony (7) in the second half of play of an NBA
preseason basketball game, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, in Hartford, Conn.
New York won in overtime 98-95. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Doc played the 4th quarter and overtime with a lineup of Smith, Christmas, Joseph, Sullinger, and Downs. They were feisty and played hard as a group but the combination of Jason Kidd (7 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals) and Chris Copeland (21 points, 4 rebounds) for the Knicks was just enough to overcome the energy of the Celtics rookie lineup. The best part of watching the young guys battling out there was to watch the energy of the veterans on the bench cheering them on, working the refs, and giving instruction from the bench.
In the battle for the 14th and 15th spots, Kris Joseph finished with 4 points and 3 rebounds in 12 minutes and showed some nice moves in the paint. Dionte Christmas played 18 minutes and finished with 2 points (1-5)with 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 turnover. Jamar Smith played 17 minutes and finished with 5 points (2-7), 1 rebounds, no assists and 3 turnovers. Micah Downs was very scrappy, especially in rebounding, finishing with 5 points and 7 rebounds in 13 minutes. Fab Melo played for the final 3 minutes after Sully fouled out and pretty much was a place holder.
Boston Celtics' Micah Downs, second from left, fouls New York Knicks'
Chris Copeland, bottom, during overtime play of an NBA preseason
basketball game on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, in Hartford, Conn. (AP
The Celtics still have work to do. There is still considerable rust on the offensive end. In spite of holding the Knicks to 37% shooting, there is still work to be done on the defensive end as well. They are still giving up too many points off the pick and roll. The goal at this point of the preseason is to just continue to make progress and get better with each game and to evaluate the younger players. Doc will experiment with different lineups until he finds the combinations that work best together. I think all 3 goals were accomplished in this game.