In a game that looked nothing like a preseason game, the Celtics lost 94-87 and tempers flared and both teams played with way too much intensity for a preseason game. However, the Celtics never could find their offense and had defensive lapses for much of the game. One of the biggest factors in the game could have been the fact that Doc chose to rest Kendrick Perkins and Scal started in his place. Without Perk to set screens and block the middle, intimidating players going to the basket, it seemed as though the Knicks were the tougher team. They certainly played better defense than the Celtics tonight. The good news is that Perk isn't injured, just being held out by Doc. From the Herald:
Kendrick Perkins was told to sit out last night’s game - not because of an injury, but simply to give his body a rest - and the Celtics center considered the command an honor. “I guess this means that now I’m officially a veteran,” Perkins said. “I’m a veteran, and I’m only 22.” He’s also a physical player who, with a long season ahead and a reputation for working out as hard as he plays, may truly need to spend a night on the pine. “Doc said he wants me to rest up because right now I’m the only player he has at the 5 spot,” said Perkins, who added that his right foot, which endured a case of plantar fasciitis last season, is fine. . .
The Knicks were ready for this game after being embarrassed by the Celtics last week in Boston. They came out scrappy and playing tough defense. The Celtics, in spite of playing their stars big minutes, let the pressure take them out of the game. When Crawford gave a hard foul on Ray Allen, KG and Pierce both came to his defense with Pierce grabbing Crawford's chin at one point. That is all fine and good to defend a teammate, but they would be better suited to doing it on the court with their play. Instead, they let the Knicks take them out of their game and rattle them. After that incident, there were several more jawing sessions and a few shoves,most notably between Tony Allen and Nate Robinson and Randolph and Posey. Amazingly, with all the shoving and trash talk, no technicals were called on the plays.
Leon Powe won the Tommy Award for his tough physical play and defense. Powe took 3 charges in the game and was solid in his 16 minutes of play. He finished with 5 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 5 fouls. He played hard, but the Knicks size up front made it very difficult for him. I hope never to see Scal starting at center again. He logged 14 minutes, which isn't too bad, but it seemed as though every time he touched the ball he chucked it toward the basket, hitting only 2 of 7 shots for 5 points, 1 rebound and 5 fouls. He did have a pretty put back at the basket but that was about it for his highlights. Newsday had this little gem in their game preview:
A few Knicks suggested that Scalabrine is more effective as a tandem with Garnett than Kendrick Perkins. Scalabrine's ability to hit the deep ball and pull one big out of the paint opens up room for Garnett to work on the post. Though he's listed as a 4, Garnett is really playing center in this lineup. The key for the Knicks is to cause the matchup problem in the paint down at the other end of the floor.
It figures it is Knicks fans suggesting this. No Celtics fan in their right mind would even consider it in their worst nightmares.
Scal wasn't the only one with shooting woes, though. Almost every Celtic struggled from the floor, including the vaunted troika. Pierce was 8-20, Ray Allen was 3-13, Scal was 2-7, Posey 2-5, Powe 2-7, Tony Allen 0-2, and House was 0-2. Only KG (6-10) and Rondo (4-8) shot 50% or better. The Celtics struggled all night against the tough Knicks defense. It is going to be a long season if this team doesn't learn to deal with defensive pressure.
KG was playing with playoff intensity. He scored 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to go with 2 assists, 1 steal, 5 blocks and 6 fouls. He also had 5 turnovers, most of which came on bad passes. As for the other 2 stars, Pierce finished with 29 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. He tried to pick up the slack, but there was just too much slack to pick up in this game. Ray Allen had only 12 points to go with 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal. The key stat for the 3 stars may be minutes. KG played 39 minutes, Pierce played 40 minutes and Ray Allen played 41 minutes. None of the 3 scored in the 4th quarter and it looked as though fatigue was definitely a factor at the end of the game as shots were falling short and they seemed to struggled with their defense.
Posey was strong off the bench with 9 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocked shots and is going to be a factor for the team this season. Tony Allen continued his comeback and couldn't seem to get it going. He finished scoreless and with only 1 steal to show for his 12 minutes. Rondo filled the stat sheet once again with 10 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, and 1 block.
Manuel, Pruitt, Davis and Wallace all played only the final 10 seconds of the game and Dahntay Jones was a DNP coaches decision. So much for getting a look at the players on the bubble. The Celtics were out rebounded 53-41, which is unacceptable for this team. We should be a much better rebounding team. We had only 12 offensive rebounds and with the amount of misses the Celtics were racking up, there were lots to be had. The majority of rebounding is desire and this team should have more than their opponents. It just wasn't there last night in spite of the intensity in the game.
One thing this game proved to me was the importance of Perk on the team. He may not be the top scorer or rebounder in a game but his presence in the middle defensively makes a huge difference. This also underscored the importance of having some depth at the center position. Reports are that Pollard should be able to contribute this season, but with his injury history, it is hard to be very certain about it. The back up center position remains a concern and we all have to hope and pray that Perk stays healthy this season.
I love these pictures. Talk about intensity. There are some teams that the Cs might be able to get away without playing Perk. This wasn't one of them. The Knicks have one of the biggest frontcourts in the league. Its good to see some intensity in this NY Boston matchup. I hope they're like this all season long -- except with the men in Green taking home the W.
Scal is a tragic player we should waive his ass with its 3millions per season. And Doc will keep him playing about 15-20MPG in season...he's blind?! Too bad we lost Batista but i understand him - playing 10minutes in Boston is not as good as playing 40minutes in very good Israel league - Doc should have play him more in pre-season, show him some confidence in him. We'll see what Pollard can do...but I really like Glen Davis, Doc should use these pre-season games to see what this guy can do with KG in paint.