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Friday, January 25, 2013

Rondo's Triple-Double Can't Help The Celtics Avoid Another Loss, 89-86 To The Knicks

We keep waiting for the Celtics to dig themselves out of this ever expanding hole but so far, they can't do anything about it. Boston (20-22, 13-9 home) lost 89-86 to New York (26-14, 12-8 away) tonight at TD Garden in a game that they desperately needed to win.

The Knicks had lost 11 straight games at the Garden, their last win was way back in 2006. This was Boston's five straight loss (on the heels of a six-game win streak no less) which ties their roughest patch in the Kevin Garnett era (8 points, 12 rebounds).

The scene was all set for the C's to get a victory: a national audience (TNT) which always pushes Rajon Rondo (23 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds, 3 steals) that extra amount. The problem was that despite his 27th career triple-double (20th on national TV), he still made some careless turnovers. It was a team-wide virus too since Jason Terry and Paul Pierce (22 points, 6 rebounds) both had killer turnovers late in the fourth quarter when the Celtics had to rally.

It's hard to say what is causing all this temporary lack of focus or attention to detail but it's clear that the margin of error for Boston is so thin at the moment that blunders like that always seem to cost them this season.

Carmelo Anthony had a game-high 28 points, nine rebounds and two steals. Jason Kidd put up 12 points and three steals while Iman Shumpert added 10 points and five rebounds. Amar'e Stoudemire checked in with 15 points, nine rebounds and two blocks off the bench. J.R. Smith (3 for 16 from the field) was mostly awful but even he managed to knock down a clutch 3-pointer. The same can't be said for Terry (1-for-6), who looked completely lost in his worst game as a Celtic.

Everybody knows that New York takes and hits an absurd amount of 3-pointers. On this night, it was the main reason that they ended up winning. The Knicks hit five more 3-pointers (8-3) than the Celtics, the only statistic that was really in their favor.

There is no reason for the Celts to feel sorry for themselves since they are probably already in Atlanta. They play the Hawks (24-18, 2nd Southeast Division) tomorrow night (7:30 p.m., CSN) in what could be termed another must-win. When we last saw Atlanta, Boston rallied for an impressive 89-81 win on January 5. They often find ways to lose but the Hawks usually make it tough on the Celtics with close games.

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