Ugh. It's been over half an hour, I've taken my postgame shower, and I'm still a wreck. I think Joamiq summed up how a lot of us felt after that ending. Had Paul Pierce's game-winning step-back J been the end of the story, I'd be okay right now. It was a bummer, but I saw that one coming. What I didn't see coming was a spot-on Amar'e Stoudemire three that sent me into a screaming, windmilling frenzy before I realized it was launched well after the buzzer sounded. The human nervous system is not equipped to deal with such an emotional swing.
After the jump, you'll find a few very brief notes. Then it's time for the Heat.
- Amar'e Stoudemire, who tends to start quietly, dominated the first quarter of tonight's game. With Boston missing both of their O'Neals (and Kendrick Perkins, of course), Amar'e faced Semih Erden, and had no problem scoring over and around him. In that period, Stoudemire scored 17 on Erden and Davis, both off the pick-and-roll and on isolated drives to the basket.
- This game had quite a bit of pace to it, in part because neither team had much interest in transition defense. The Knicks got some great looks when they pushed, and so did the Celtics.
- Glen Davis sets one hell of a screen. Clyde: "River too wide, mountain too high". The mountain's pretty low, really, but that river? Wide as hell.
- Mike D'Antoni went with Landry Fields on Rajon Rondo and Raymond Felton on Ray Allen. Felton had some trouble busting through screens, and Fields got burned a few times when he helped Wilson Chandler defend Kevin Garnett and lost track of Rondo, forcing everybody to scramble. If Rondo wasn't completely averse to shooting open lay-ups, it might have looked worse. Still, I think it was a solid defensive strategy, and Fields's help on KG was usually on point.
- After a silent first half, Danllo Gallinari came alive in the second. His jumpers were falling, and he had two pretty impressive baseline dunks. Actually, scratch that. Only one was pretty impressive. The other one was HOLYSHITIDIDN'TKNOWHECOULDDOTHAT impressive.
- As has often been the case, the Knicks lost ground when Toney Douglas was the primary ballhandler. It's easy to forget, but New York was up 12 in the third quarter of this one. The Celtics did a lot of chipping away when Amar'e took to the bench, but with or without the big guy, the Knicks were completely stagnant when Douglas was the playmaker. In general, the Knicks' lack of depth is a major issue, particularly now that Ronny Turiaf has regressed and Shawne Williams is no longer pooping in the corner.
- Even after a litany of basketball-related horrors, this is the one sight from tonight that I desperately wish I could un-see.
- 18, 12, 2 steals, and 2 blocks for Wilson Chandler. He did his darnedest against Garnett, and continued hit quiet contributions on the offensive again.
- This is one of several games in which I've thought "Hey Seth, Raymond Felton didn't have a great night", but Felton put up 26 (8-16) and 14, albeit with 5 turnovers. All things considered, I suppose he played pretty nicely against an elite Boston defense. I really, really, really hope his back feels alright. If you missed it, Felton got knocked to the floor on a lay-up attempt with under a minute to play, then couldn't get himself up in time to run back and play defense. The ensuing wide-open three by Ray Allen felt like the game's dagger, but we had no idea what else was in store.
- Just to recap: That Allen three-pointer in a 5-on-4 put the Celtics up 3. Gallinari responded with a lefty scoop and the foul to tie the game. Rajon Rondo threw a pass directly to Landry Fields. Amar'e Stoudemire rimmed out a chip shot off the pick-and-roll. Paul Pierce came off a screen to hit a step-back J over Stoudemire. Stoudemire's game-winning 3 was ruled too late. Ballgame.
- Y'all already know what it is, but Paul Pierce...yikes. That man makes me think awful thoughts.
That's really all I've got. Forget the referees. Forget the timekeepers. What matters now is how the Knicks rebound from this loss on Friday. A good team would come out furiously and upend the streaking Heat. A mediocre team would spiral downward after tonight's rough loss. I'd like to believe these Knicks are a good team.
I'm sure we'll talk more about this one on the morrow. Be kind to one another, and be kind to Celtics fans as well.