Celtics 109, Knicks 97: "Can we punt?"

I think Phil Weber said it best in his halftime conversation with Tina Cervasio. Faced with a feisty, dogged Celtics club, the Knicks looked like they'd rather kick this one away than grapple against a more physical team. It looked just like you'd expect when will meets whimper: lots of easy buckets for the home team, not much teamwork on either end for our Knicks. Such is life in March of a losing season.

Game notes, after the jump...

- The Knicks were in white, while the Celtics donned green and gold. Clyde thought the C's holiday garb had "a little class", and generally approved. Therefore, I also approve.

- Toney Douglas started the game guarding Ray Allen, with Bill Walker checking Rajon Rondo. Rondo was mostly looking to pass, and didn't test Bill the Bully too much, but Allen and Kevin Garnett seized the opportunity to run the pick-and-roll. In the events that Toney was forced to switch, Garnett had an understandably easy time scoring.

- Speaking of which, the Celtics set some hard picks. It was mostly clean, but there were several elbows and extra steps. By the end, Douglas was pretty much the only Knick willing to fight through one of them, and he almost got himself knocked the hell out a couple times. Without things getting out of hand, it would've been nice to see a Knick return the favor on offense.

- Toney's game on the whole, was decent, if not pretty. His offense (5-13, 1-6 from three) was sub-par, and the Celtics did a masterful job of doubling like savages off of screens, which stifled his passing game. Even on the occasions that he could find the rolling David Lee, a Celtic rotated quickly enough to deter the basket and assist. What Toney Douglas do, though, is the little things. He deflected passes, chased Ray Allen around like a mad man, scrapped for rebounds, fought through screens, and closed out. Amidst a teamwide lack of effort, Toney fought like a little bulldog from buzzer to buzzer. That is what Toney Douglas do. Respect. I'll roll with the odd rookie mistake if Douglas continues to bring some gumption to the court.

- On the opposite end of the spectrum stood Tracy McGrady and David Lee. I never fully know how much to blame Lee for getting trampled by bigger teams, but some of the hard fouls and quick rotations we've seen recently were absent tonight. McGrady, meanwhile, completely mailed this one in. He didn't share much on offense and was all but a spectator on D. Like, if you're just gonna stand there, at least grab a yo-yo and do some cool tricks.

- Our friend BK was a little puzzled by a brief zone defense that featured Douglas, Harrington, Lee, and Sergio Rodriguez, with Tracy McGrady anchoring the middle (in much the same way that an anchor anchors a boat). I gave up questioning D'Antoni's rotations a while ago, but, yeah...what? We also saw 20 minutes of Chris Duhon, just to keep things interesting.

- Does anybody else get kind of a Cheshire Cat vibe from Bil Walker?

- Glen Davis, frustrated with a series of missed layups, damn near popped a basketball. I seent it with my own eyes.

- J.R. Giddens got to spin! He looked decent for a guy who hasn't run five-on-five in quite some time. He played pretty good defense on Paul Pierce and sank a few shots, even barking at Pierce after one make. I spent most of the second quarter trying to determine who Giddens looks like. I settled on Snoopy, but then Tommy Dee pointed out that he looks like a stretched-out David Wesley, which is accurate. Then tz88 said he looked more like Bird (Fredro Starr) from "The Wire", which gets points for having to do with "The Wire". Well done all around. I feel like a gump for having picked Snoopy.

- Mike Breen in the second quarter: "Nate Robinson...a little out of control". Brought a tear to my eye.

- You know these Volkswagen commercials they've had since the Super Bowl with the Grizzly Bear music and the people punching each other? The way I always played it, you only punched somebody if you saw a Beetle, hence the phrase "punch buggy". I'm not gonna go injuring my friends because I saw a goddamn Volkswagen Touareg, know what I'm saying? That's just overboard. VW ought to reconsider promoting such recklessness.

- Clyde, discussing this Garden of Dreams event: "We'll be spinning, the kids will be winning."

- Glen Davis auditioned for the role of Michael Oher in The Blind Side. Kendrick Perkins turned down the role of Olmec the anthropomorphic rock wall in Legends of the Hidden Temple.

- Danilo Gallinari drove to the basket some, but his tendency, as is often the case, was to adjust and attempt difficult shots instead of drawing contact from defenders. I swear he shot a lefty midrange jumper in the first quarter. Gotta draw fouls if you're not going to find easy shots in the paint. If you can't stand the possibility of being maimed, get out of the kitchen.

- Al Harrington pulled the chair on Big Baby in the fourth quarter, and he totally bit hardwood. I didn't not laugh.

- Serious question: Is it acceptable to wear a vertically striped shirt with a horizontally striped tie? I ask because Clifford Ray was sporting exactly that pairing. It made me a little dizzy, which is why I'm uncertain. Vertigo-inducing outfits would seem to be a faux pas, but I really don't know.

- It feels like the 09-10 Celtics have ruined every player I liked when I was 9. If they sign Mookie Blaylock, I quit.

There will come a day when the Knicks are fierce enough to tangle with a nasty team like the Celtics. Today was not that day. Next game's Friday against the Sixers.

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