Home > Analysis > Christmas Day Analysis: Celtics 104 vs. Knicks 106

Christmas Day Analysis: Celtics 104 vs. Knicks 106

(Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)

First things first. It’s absolutely fantastic to have the NBA back in our lives. Today’s game at Madison Square Garden between the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks paints a beautiful, gritty picture explaining why. Heading in, both teams had major questions to answer, and both—one would assume—are poised for a bloody battle over the Atlantic Division’s crown. In what will be a new feature coming to Shaky Ankles this season, here are some quick hit points of interest delivered in the always awesome, easily readable bullet point format. Merry Christmas!

  • After experiencing a tough December, filled with trade rumors and reported hurt feelings, Rajon Rondo began the 2011-12 season announcing his formal candidacy for MVP. Behind 31 points (including 9-12 from the free-throw line) and 13 assists, the Celtics point guard was without a doubt the game’s most influential player, feeding teammates Brandon Bass, Jermaine O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, and Marquis Daniels with an entire season’s worth of silky passes. He was aggressive to the basket, took (and made) several jumpers in rhythm (3-5 from 16-23 feet), and appeared to dictate the game’s flow whenever he wanted. 7 of Rondo’s game-high 13 assists led to simple baskets at the rim. In short, he was beautiful.
  • On the other hand, Carmelo Anthony pitched a campaign of his own. Watching the game through the eyes of a Celtics’ fan, nothing was scarier than every time Carmelo held the basketball out on the perimeter. Not many players have you dead in the water before they attack, but with Carmelo, the bullet’s in your brain before he’s finished a jab step. With an insane usage rate of 41.9, Anthony declared himself New York’s number one offensive option, and right now it isn’t even close. After picking up his fourth foul in the third quarter and being relegated to the bench—opening the door for Boston’s eventual run—Melo made his presence felt upon returning, jacking up shot after shot as Boston refused to double team. They paid for it.
  • The Celtics trade of Glen Davis for Brandon Bass has placed a strip of duct tape over the mouths of every Danny Ainge critic, at least for the time being. Bass was stupendous, adding an athletic dimension that Boston’s frontcourt has lacked these last few years. He posted a TS% of 72% with 20 points in 28 minutes, and consistently devoured loose balls on the offensive and defensive glass. A good sign for Boston’s offensive spacing moving forward: Bass made 3-4 of his shots from 16-23 feet.
  • A brief point on the Carmelo Anthony point forward experiment: Against one of the game’s better pick and roll defenses, Anthony was flawless on the few instances when initiating the P&R in transition. Still, I’m not a huge fan of this working in the long term.
  • Iman Shumpert was irrational in his choosing when to shoot and when to defer. After showing off in the preseason, the rookie came into the game with moderately high expectations and it seemed he was trying to do too much early on. He was 1-6 on shots at the rim, and the one make came on his own fortunate put back. An MCL sprain that’ll keep him out 2-4 weeks put a stop to the madness. With the injury, New York’s thin backcourt will grow even flimsier. (Cue Mike Bibby looking like the quiet high school student in the back of class, praying his teacher doesn’t call on him.)
  • Joey Crawford placed a cherry on top of a typical despicable performance by giving the Knicks two free-throws on what appeared to be a clean Marquis Daniels strip of Carmelo near the end of regulation. In what eventually shaped itself as a Christmas Day classic, it seems to me the players should’ve been able to decide who was victorious. Call me crazy.
  • In his much anticipated debut at the Garden, Tyson Chandler had six blocks, but they seemed to be of the stat stuffing variety. Boston had an eFG% of 84% at the rim (to New York’s 62%), and in 37 minutes of “action”, Chandler grabbed only 3 rebounds. I know he’s not an offensive threat, or even a top 5 option, but attempting two shots in the game—both dunks—needs to change if the Knicks want to make their offense even more dangerous.
  • With 19 shot attempts, Toney Douglas tied Rajon Rondo for the game-high. This. Is. Problematic.
  • Before Daniels missed what would have been a game winning three-pointer from the left corner, the Celtics attempted just four shots from deep in the entire game. Last year they averaged just under 14.

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