Rajon Rondo turned in a triple-double performance but the Celtics shot the ball poorly in an 89-86 loss to the New York Knicks Thursday night at TD Garden.
Rondo’s 23 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists were not enough to overcome his team’s 41 percent shooting from the field. To their credit, the Celtics came out with some of the same kind of energy they displayed in a 102-96 win over the Knicks on Jan. 7. Unlike in that game, however, the Celtics did not shoot 53 percent from the floor. On Thursday night the Celtics shot 38 percent from the field in the first quarter. Paul Pierce was 2 of 7. He had two key turnovers down the stretch that cost the Celtics a chance to pull closer in the game’s final minutes.
The Celtics were 0-7 in home games when trailing entering the fourth quarter this season, and Thursday night was no different. Pierce had 19 points in the first half but scored just three points the rest of the way. He shot 6 for 15 in the game and was 1 of 5 from 3-point range.
Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 28 points. Kevin Garnett had 8 points and 12 rebounds. Coming into the night the Knicks had lost 13 straight at TD Garden. The Celtics, who have lost five in a row, are right back at it tomorrow night when they take on the Atlanta Hawks on the road.
1:11 4th quarter, Knicks 89-84: Celtics bring help to Jeff Green, who is guarding Anthony. Knicks swing the ball around and get a wide open 3-pointer from J.R. Smith.
2:58 4th quarter, Knicks 86-82: Great bailout drive by Rondo to get to the line. If he going to provide the scoring the Celtics need?
5:37 4th quarter, Knicks 82-76: Rondo gets his triple double all in one motion, grabbing a rebound and starting the fast break that leads to an easy score on the other end. The Celtics need points, stat.
8:23 4th quarter, Knicks 80-70: Doc Rivers trying to stop the bleeding with a timeout, but the Celtics just can’t put the ball in the basket. Paul Pierce has one point after halftime.
10:12 4th quarter, Knicks 75-68: Carmelo Anthony hits a 3-pointer, and the Celtics might be in trouble. Anthony leads all scorers with 24 points.
End 3d quarter, Knicks 72-66: The Knicks closed out the quarter strongly to take a six-point lead. Rajon Rondo is flirting with a triple-double (13 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists). Paul Pierce scored just one point in the third quarter.
3:16 3d quarter, Knicks 65-61: Celtics going with a super small lineup of Terry, Rondo, Lee, Green, and Sullinger.
strong>5:52 3d quarter, Tied at 57: Rajon Rondo, who is playing very well, just cost his team four points by passing up a layup in favor of a too-cute pass. Amar’e Stoudemire got a dunk out of it on the other end.
8:31 3d quarter, Celtics 53-52: We’re at the same pace we were to start the game, though shots aren’t falling as freely. Celtics pushing the ball, though.
Halftime, Knicks 50, Celtics 48: Paul Pierce has a sneaky 19 points in 17 minutes of play. He got off to a poor shooting start, but he’s clearly not done yet. He’s been to the line seven times.
Anthony leads the Knicks with 13 points.Garnett has 5 points and 9 rebounds.
2:53 2d quarter, Celtics 40-39: This is getting fun. Kevin Garnett has nine rebounds. He also had a sweet block on Anthony, pinning the ball against the backboard.
5:29 2d quarter, Celtics 33-31: The Celtics aren’t shooting any better, but they’re back in this game thanks to better defense. Avery Bradley closed out to a 3-point shooter in the corner, than ran down to the block to strip Tyson Chandler of the ball. The kid is everywhere.
8:47 2d quarter, Knicks 29-24: The Knicks are making a run without Anthony in the game. Amar’e Stoudemire has 5 points and 5 rebounds. The Celtics are shooting 33 percent from the field.
End 1st quarter, Celtics 24-20: Big lull for the Celtics in the middle of the quarter, but they got back into it with defense to end the period. The Celtics are giving only late help to Jeff Green on Carmelo Anthony. It worked to perfection on the last play as Sullinger stepped up and altered Anthony’s layup attempt, then swatted the ball away as time expired.
2:59 1st quarter, Tied at 16: Things have slowed down considerably for the Celtics with Garnett off the floor. Pierce is out, too, which is a good thing. He’s already 2 for 7, continuing his recent shooting woes.
4:47 1st quarter, Celtics 16-13: I like the aggressiveness from the Celtics out of the gate. They’ve got five assists and no turnovers. Rajon Rondo, who has four of those assists, is making it happen.
10:18 1st quarter, Celtics 4-0: Good start for Paul Pierce, who has a jumper and a layup out of the game. Loud jeers for Carmelo Anthony as he and Kevin Garnett went one-on-one early.
Pregame: Don’t expect to see many cereal-related products on television tonight. Word is they’re being confiscated at the door. Both teams are warming up in blue “NBA Fit” shirts, which makes it look like the Knicks are warming up against the Knicks.
James White is starting for the Knicks tonight because, according to coach Mike Woodson, the Celtics are “small.”
Funny anecdote before the game. Former Celtics and current Knicks center Rasheed Wallace popped into the Celtics locker room, yelled “J GREEN!” to Jeff Green, and then left. Oh, Sheed.