Celtics Blow Knicks, Bulls Demolish Kings
Celtics is the first team from East to reach the 50 limit this season. The leaders passed the New York Knicks 96-86 last night at the Madison Square Garden to become the fourth side in the league with 50+ wins.
Boston’s Big Trio scored 60 points, 24 of which being added by the man of the match Kevin Garnett who left Madison also with 11 rebounds, four steals and one assist. Paul Pierce’s 35-minute showing included 21 points, six rebounds and two assists, while Ray Allen came up with 15 points, eight rebounds and one steal.
On the other side, the Knicks were conceding their third straight loss, although they had both Melo and Stoudemire on the court, New York looked unable to keep the same pace they had imposed in the third quarter, their late poor performance allowing the visitors score 33 points and go 16 adrift.
The Knicks won the first quarter 25-22 only to be left 11 points behind at the end of the second one. The half-time found D’Antoni’s side entering the locker-rooms with an eight-point deficit following a 15-26 second term result. But hardly did the third quarter begin that New York were building a very comfortable eight-point lead thanks to a 26-18 rally which could have put the Celtics into trouble. In the end, it was Boston who was back in business, thwarting the Knicks 33-17 and grabbing a ten-point victory which propelled them back to the top of the Eastern Conference.
Rajon Rondo had 13 points, 12 assists, four rebounds and two steals, while center Nenad Krstic came up with seven points, and four rebounds. Concerning their bench, Celtics’ reserves scored 16 points, eight of which belonging to Glen Davis and seven to Jeff Green. Delonte West converted a free-throw, while Carlos Arroyo (3 minutes) and Troy Murphy (2 minutes) finished scoreless. Finally, Sasha Pavlovic and Avery Bradley did not play.
On the other side, Carmelo Anthony managed to score 22 points and pick five rebounds, while Amare Stoudemire came up with 16 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block. Chauncey Billups was the second player to score 20+ points for the Knicks, going for 21, three rebounds, three assists and one steal. Center Ronny Turiaf scored 11 points, grabbed two rebounds and delivered two passes. Finally, Landry Fields added just four points but picked six rebounds, two of which offensive ones, and delivered three assists.
Knicks’ bench brought just 12 points, the poorest performances coming from Sahwne Williams and Toney Douglas. Williams, who played 22 minutes, left the court scoreless, while the second one added just five points in 20 minutes. Douglas would also miss five out of seven FGMs as well as all his four three-point attempts. Roger Mason came off the bench to score six points, while Jared Jeffries came up with one point and four rebounds. Bill Walker and Anthony Carter did not play.
Said Knicks’ coach Mark D’Antoni: “We just got to a point there, I thought we just panicked. We’ve got a lot of work to do.” With Melo, Knicks have already lost seven of nine games, dropping seventh in the Eastern Conference.
“We’ve been in every game that you can imagine, big games, so you know we don’t really get rattled. We know how to respond when the games get testy and physical and sometimes we keep our poise, sometimes we don’t, but tonight we did,” said Paul Pierce.
Boston tie Bulls for the same season record of 50 wins and 19 losses, the win over Knicks being their sixth in the past ten games and second in a row. As for the Knicks, they lie seventh with a 35-35 record. D’Antoni’s side will next play Orlando Magic, while the Celtics meet Memphis on Wednesday.
Chicago Bulls 132 – 92 Sacramento Kings
Bulls have clinched one of their biggest victories of the season after thwarting Kings last night at the United Center, the place which they transformed – at least for one hour – into a gym. Sacramento allowed Chicago score 64+ points in each of the two halfs. The home side claimed the first quarter 34-28 but extended their lead to 17 points just before the break.
The second half found Bulls going even further. They left the 8-25 Kings nine points behind at the end of the third quarter to start the last term with a 98-72 advantage. So, their lead was increasing exponentially as the game progressed. Sacramento finally capitulated following a 20-34 fourth round deficit. They conceded their 52nd loss of the season, becoming the fifth team with a 50-loss record.
Chicago’s collective play found all of its starters score 14+ points with star Derrick Rose and reserve Kyle Korver going for 18 instead. Luol Deng had 17, Carlos Boozer 16 and Keith Bogans 15 points. Center’s Joakim Noah performance was not a less important one, his showing having included 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.
Bulls’ bench came up with 52 points, 14 of which being added by Omer Asik and 11 by C.J. Watson. Ronnie Brewer had seven points, four rebounds, four assists, one steal and two blocks, while Taj Gibson came off the bench two score two points, pick six rebounds, deliver two passes and make three steals as well as one block.
On the other side, Marcus Thornton added 25 points for the Kings and completed his 33-minute showing also with three rebounds, four assists and three steals. Beno Udrih scored 13, Francisco Garcia 12 and DeMarcus Cousins 11 points, the three being the only ones to add 9+ points. Center Samuel Delmbert came up with nine points, seven rebounds and two assists.
Sacramento, who lie second from the bottom in the West Conference, will try for a break through on Wednesday when they face Milwaukee. Chicago Bulls visit Atlanta on Tuesday.11