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Knicks vs. Celtics Leftovers

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Good morning, friends. I have yet to disengage myself from the plague of yesterday's game. Take the jump for a little dwelling on my part, as well as some links from before and after the Knicks' loss to the Celtics.

- Since we all flip out about it when it goes badly, it's worth acknowledging that the Knicks shot a decent 21-26 (81 percent) from the free throw line. Amar'e Stoudemire missed a pair at one point, but other than that, the Knicks were never noticeably inept at the foul line. Steve Novak, for his part, swished those two big free throws to put New York up three in the final seconds. He and Melo would have been heroes if not for that meddling Pierce.

- Regarding those final seconds...I can't stop watching this. I hate it, but I can't stop. Here's Paul Pierce's game-tying three from last night. Don't watch this video if you're not emotionally equipped to handle a bit of unpleasantness on a Monday morning:

A few things: 1. Iman Shumpert's defense here wasn't perfect. He, as a few people reminded me, defended Pierce on his left side using his right hand, which is the opposite of what you're supposed to do against a right-handed shooter. That said, Shump did a terrific job of chasing Ray Allen over Kevin Garnett's first (illegal) screen, hopped right back to his feet after pretty much getting table-topped by Allen and Garnett, and contested Pierce's initial pump fake without leaving his feet or fouling. Pierce hit a tough, tough shot falling to his right, and as I see it, that's the best Shump could do in the given scenario scenario. That doesn't change the fact that every time I watch this video I maintain an inkling of hope that he'll turn that left shoulder and swat Pierce's shot to the opposite side of the floor, then grab one of Pierce's sneakers off his feet and drop kick it into the stands just because.

- I'm sorry for subjecting you to the above. Here's a palliative video:

Another one for the "it bugged us before, so let's acknowledge when it gets momentarily fixed" department: Shump took off with two feet and finished at the rim. Oh boy, did he finish.

- There are two commercials out right now that bother me for the same reason, and I didn't even realize they were two separate commercials until yesterday's broadcast. One is for John Carter and the other is for Immortals. Both appear to be movies about shiny shirtless men yelling at big cartoon monsters, which I suppose is why I mistook one for the other. Anyway, the former is being advertised as the "first blockbuster of the year" and the latter is being advertised as the "first big Blu-Ray purchase of the year". I could have the exact phrasing wrong on those, but the point is that a major selling point for both films is that they are being made available in their respective formats early in the calendar year (though, really, not that early. I bet that people who care about things like blockbusters and Blu-Rays have already enjoyed themselves at some point in 2012). Why these matters of sheer circumstance are presented as merits of either movie is beyond me. It's like those commercials that advertise Coors Light as the "coldest tasting beer". That's not actually a quality intrinsic to the beer. Beer "tastes" as cold (cold isn't really a gustatory experience, is it?) as the temperature to which it is refrigerated, just like movies are as "first __ of the year" as the date that they are released. This blog post is the first great blog post at P&T on March 5, 2012.

- Tyson Chandler didn't return to the game with the rest of the starters (minus Landry Fields) in the mid-fourth quarter. In fact, he stayed on the bench until there were just over two minutes left in the period. My guess is that Chandler was in pain and feeling hampered by his wrist brace, and since the game wasn't that close at that point, D'Antoni figured that he might as well let Tyson rest. When it got very close down the stretch, though, D'Antoni perhaps asked Tyson if he could suck it up for a couple of minutes. Then the game went into overtime and D'Antoni just left him out there. That's my imaginary explanation for how things went down. Maybe that could have been handled better? I'm not sure. The Knicks did come back and tie it (in an effort that included some big offensive rebounds) without Chandler on the floor.

Some post-game links:

- Make no mistake, though: Chandler's wrist hurts. (Melo feels good, though!)

- Melo's still pretty pissed at himself for his last-second foul on Rajon Rondo at the end of the first half. Seems like a good thing for Melo to be pissed about.

- Plus/minus-wise, the discrepancy between the Knick bench and the opponent bench was once again superior to the difference between the two starting units.

- I agree with Tommy here. Whether or not the Knicks had any momentum at that point is debatable, but that blown putback dunk by Amar'e was the point at which I gave up all hope.

Some pre-game links that I didn't get to:

- Steve Serby's "Sunday Conversations" always have a few good moments, and his talk with Baron Davis is worth a look.

- Very, very illuminating article by Kevin Armstrong of the Daily News on J.R. Smith's life and the tragic car accident that killed his friend in 2007. Also, great photo of young Earl boogieing in a car dealership.

- Chandler's uncharacteristic sub-par shooting numbers yesterday can be attributed to both his wrist and the Zwerling jinx.

Cool. I feel like I got some stuff out of my system and am more ready than I was to move on to the Dallas game, which could be another scary one. They weren't kidding about March being rough!