Pierce, Ginobili buzzer-beaters keep Celtics, Spurs atop NBA

12.16.10 8 years ago 66 Comments

Paul Pierce, Dime #5

Paul Pierce said it wasn’t a rivalry. He never said it wasn’t a big stage or a big game. Putting the exclamation point on the most highly-anticipated Knicks/Celtics matchup in at least a decade, Pierce snapped New York’s eight-game win streak and stretched Boston’s win streak to 11 by hitting the game-winning jumper with 0.4 seconds left in Madison Square Garden. And after the shot — going to his right, two-dribble pull-up slightly fading away, as predictable as payday — Pierce took a bow for the road crowd … It wasn’t over at that point, though. The Knicks still had time to pull off a Derek Fisher-like miracle, so when Amar’e Stoudemire caught the inbounds and buried a wide-open three, the Garden went NUTS like it was Larry Johnson all over again. But the pandemonium soon turned to panic, as the refs reviewed the shot and saw that Amar’e didn’t get it off before the buzzer … So while it may not be a rivalry yet, the Knicks played about as well as you possibly can in a loss. Amar’e (39 points, 10 rebounds) and Ray Felton (26 points, 14 assists) were killing Boston on pick-and-rolls, leading to Amar’e crushing one-hand dunks and Felton bullying Nate Robinson and Rajon Rondo (who injured his ankle in the second half) to get into the lane for layups. With no Shaq (calf) in the middle, the Knicks weren’t worried about any shot-blocker getting in the way … And still, Boston hung around, finally taking the lead on a Ray Allen (26 points) trey with one minute left before Pierce (32 points, 10 rebounds) hit his dagger. “We definitely earned our respect,” Amar’e said in his post-game press conference. “I guarantee you right now Boston respects us. We’re no slouch. We’re ready to play every night and Boston knows it.” … Some of the Dime crew was at the Garden. After the game the Celtics locker room stayed closed for longer than usual, and Doc Rivers wasn’t in there. Is that just another sign that the Knicks aren’t yet on Boston’s level, when the C’s have a player’s-only meeting after a win? Surely they were talking about their defense and how it got torched …

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