Good things happen for the Celtics when Ray Allen is involved. Especially in the fourth quarter, when the pressure is greatest.
Allen hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 11 seconds left as the Celtics beat the New York Knicks, 87-85, in Game 1 of a best-of-seven playoff series at TD Garden. After Allen’s shot, the Knicks — who did not have a timeout — pushed the ball before Carmelo Anthony missed a three at the other end that would have won the game. Allen led the Celtics with 24 points, while Anthony finished with 15.
The Celtics led by a point after the first quarter after Anthony played just 1:28 before picking up two personal fouls. But the second quarter was all Knicks. New York shot 65 percent in the second to Boston’s 33 percent, outscoring the Celtics 28-15. The Celtics became completely bogged down on offense in the second just as they allowed Anthony to explode for 12 points on the other end. A typically rowdy TD Garden crowd was given nothing to cheer about.
The Celtics came out with renewed energy in the third quarter and immediately changed the tone of the game. Instead of running the shot clock down they found their offense in transition. Allen scored seven points in the period as the Celtics cut the lead to 64-59.
The Celtics took their first lead of the second half on Jeff Green’s jumper with 9:05 remaining in the fourth quarter. The teams went back and forth down the stretch, leading to the shootout in the final minutes. This was the second time this season a game between these two teams has gone down to the final seconds.
Amar’e Stoudemire finished as the game’s leading scorer with 28 points. Rajon Rondo had 10 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists.
Game 2 of this first-round series is Tuesday night at TD Garden.
Final: Celtics 87-85 Ray Allen (who else?) nails a 3-pointer from the baseline. Knicks don’t call a timeout and Carmelo Anthony misses a three at the other end. That’s your ballgame.
21.0 4th quarter, Knicks 85-84: Anthony called for the offensive foul on Pierce.
37.3 4th quarter, Knicks 85-84: It took 0.3 seconds for Rajon Rondo to find Kevin Garnett for an alley-oop dunk. Great play out of the timeout.
37.8 4th quarter, Knicks 85-82: Toney Douglas hits a long 3-pointer to put the Knicks up three. Wow.
50.7 4th quarter, Tied at 82: The Celtics went for the home run pass but Ray Allen couldn’t catch up to the ball as it went out of bounds. That’s 18 turnovers for the C’s.
2:16 4th quarter, Knicks 82-78: The Knicks are executing on offense and forcing the Celtics to trade baskets. Amar’e Stoudemire just took it right to Jermaine O’Neal for two of his 28 points.
3:56 4th quarter, Knicks 78-75: Big three by Chauncey Billups. Jermaine O’Neal picks up his 5th personal.
5:55 4th quarter, Knicks 72-70: Carmelo Anthony picks up his fourth foul. We’ve got a game here, folks.
9:04 4th quarter, Celtics 66-64: Jeff Green gives the Celtics the lead with a jump shot that once again comes in transition. The Celtics do well off of Knicks missed shots. Not so much when the Knicks make.
End 3d quarter, Knicks 64-59: Well that was much better. The Celtics cut into a 12-point halftime lead to make it a game heading into the fourth.
Kind of remarkable: All five Celtics are in double-figures after three. That’s great balance at the top. Now the C’s could use someone like Garnett, Allen, or Pierce to be a little selfish in the fourth.
3:52 3d quarter, Knicks 59-56: Ray Allen converts on a 3-pointer, then a layup, to force another Knicks timeout. The offense is starting to click now for the Celtics, mostly because they’re getting it off of good defense. Doc Rivers said before the game he’d like to start the offense in the first 10 seconds. His team is getting out and running in transition, and it’s working.
5:53 3d quarter, Knicks 57-51: The Knicks have started the quarter hitting one of their last 10 shots. Meanwhile, the Celtics are playing with renewed enthusiasm.
Jermaine O’Neal is playing like a man possessed. He’s got 10 points and three very loud blocked shots.
7:40 3d quarter, Knicks 55-47: Finally, some energy. Jermaine O’Neal blocked a shot by Carmelo Anthony at the rim, Paul Pierce jumped out of bounds to save the loose ball, and O’Neal finished with a jumper on the other end to get the crowd to its feet.
Halftime, Knicks 51-39: It feels like someone let the air out of a balloon in here. Where’s the passion from the Celtics? The Knicks aren’t playing more than their usual defense and yet they held the Celtics to 39 points.
The Celtics are down to 41-percent shooting for the game. Don’t even know what to say. Just miserable in here.
2:23 2d quarter, Knicks 45-37: Boy this is ugly. The Knicks are getting theirs now, and it’s coming easily. Carmelo Anthony is 4 of 6 for 10 points, while Amar’e Stoudemire also has 10. New York is scoring on jump shots. On the other end, the Celtics can’t seem to decide what kind of shots they want.
5:48 2d quarter, Knicks 34-30: No energy in the building right now. The Celtics are killing the momentum with lousy offense. That’s on Rajon Rondo, but it’s also on his teammates to produce. The Celtics don’t seem to run good offense when Kevin Garnett is off the floor. Glen Davis has become a black hole. He’s always the one on the receiving end of plays. The Celtics would prefer someone else.
Lots of Knicks fans here making noise when their team scores. By no means an invasion, but there’s obviously passion on both sides.
8:49 2d quarter, Tied at 28: This is definitely the kind of game the Celtics want. They aren’t going to outscore the Knicks. Better to shut them down. Now if only Boston’s offense could come a little easier. The C’s are shooting 48 percent, but only Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have made more shots than they’ve missed. More of those two, please.
END 1st quarter, Celtics 24-23: The pace of this game is less than 100 points for each team so far. Expect more offense going forward.
2:42 1st quarter, Celtics 20-15: Both teams going small. Glen Davis at center on Amar’e Stoudemire, Jeff Green at the four against Jared Jeffries.
5:09 1st quarter, Celtics 16-13: This game shouldn’t lack offense. Rajon Rondo stepped through two defenders for a reverse layup with some serious english on it, then Paul Pierce hit a 3-pointer in transition to lead to a Knicks timeout. Pierce has two 3-pointers so far, and they’ve both been the momentum-building kind.
8:33 1st quarter, Tied at 6: Carmelo Anthony is out of the game with two quick personal fouls. The crowd taunts him with chants of “Meeelloooo” (think “Darrrrryl”).
Pregame: Lots of media members here for this one. Hype machine is cranked up to 11. Let’s get it.