At one point in time the Celtics and Knicks had a seriously heated rivalry. I also remember back more than ten years ago when the Knicks had a win streak against the Celtics snapped by Rick Pitino's bunch of impetuous young pups including a rookie named Chauncey Billups, another one named Ron Mercer and some kid named Antoine Walker. Lately, the Celtics have been smacking the shit out of the Knicks like Marshall does to Barney periodically following their Slap Bet. Will the D'Antoni Run & Gun Knicks actually put up a respectable game versus the rampaging Celtics tonight? Not bloody likely.
The game started fast for the C's who immediately began pushing the ball upcourt and cramming it down the Knicks gullet. The Knicks have absolutely no post presence to speak of and no shot blocker (sorry, David Lee) so points in the paint are as easy to come by as internet porn. The Celtics penetrated for easy layups or just did the drive and kick with amazing results. The anemic Knicks defense allowed the Celtics to shoot 80% from the field in the first quarter. The score at the end of one was BOS 40 NYK 21. Dayum!
The Celtics put in their bench and the rotation was thrown off by the fact that Glen "Big Baby" Davis was in a minor car accident trying to get to the arena in these snowy conditions. The Knicks (who only play seven people (?)) took advantage of this and began bombing from deep with much success. They managed to go on a couple of runs and get the lead down below double digits. The Celtics put the startes back in the game and by using deft passing and timely defense they were able to counter the Knicks three point barrage by getting easy baskets in the painted area each trip down the court.
The half ended with the Celtics only up 58-50 on a last second Duhon three. The Celtics picked up their defensive intensity in the 3rd quarter since the Knicks were shooting over 50% from deep at the time. They'd end the game shooting less than 40% from beyond the arc and they'd only connect on three more long balls over the next 24 minutes. The Celtics also went back into the paint repeatedly as Kendrick Perkins (12 pts 12 reb 4 blk) and Kevin Garnett (12 pts 6 reb 8 ast 1 stl) exerted their dominance on the low block yet again.
The story of the quarter (and the game) was about how Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo was able to get to the hole with such ease, he blew by Knick defenders repeatedly like they weren't even there. This lead to Rondo scoring 18 points on 9 for 9 shooting in the quarter, all scored from inside the painted area. He finished the game with (yet another) career high 26 points to go along with 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. The Knicks were mostly on the verge of fouling out trying to guard the drives of Paul Pierce (17 pts 5 ast) and Tony Allen (11 pts 5 ast).
Pierce and TA would draw in defenders from their penetration just to hit open men cutting to the hoop on the transparent Knicks defense or hit a wide open jump shooters like Paul Pierce (3-6 from deep), Ray Allen (18 pts 3 reb 4 ast 3 stl) or Eddie House (9 pts 6 reb 3 ast). The Celtics bench kept the pressure on the Knicks behind the inside scoring and rebounding of Leon Powe (10 pts 5 reb 2 blk). The Knicks couldn't get to the hole and they couldn't get a good look from three in the second half as the Celtics embarassed them and ran them out of the building...again.
When the smoke was clear the Celtics stood alone as the victors by the lopsided score of 124-105. The Celtics shot 66% from the field for the game including 50% from deep (10-20). They racked up 33 assists on 50 made baskets and outrebounded the hapless Knicks 47 to 23 to win their previous record tying 18th straight game and tie the record of the NBA's best 28 game start at 26-2. On the 23rd, they hope to keep it up against the young Philadelphia 76'ers. For now, the only Garden in the NBA that matters is the TD Banknorth Garden (but we already knew that, didn't we?).