BOSTON - The Boston Celtics capped off a 7-0 run in typical Boston Celtics fashion Friday night late in the fourth quarter.
With Knicks guard Langston Galloway looking to pass the ball down low to center Robin Lopez, Evan Turner got his fingers on the ball and tipped it away.
As it bounced towards the corner of the court, Turner made a dash for it. Timing his leap, he reached for the ball that was heading for the first row and blindly threw it back in play . . . right to Jared Sullinger.
As this was happening, Jae Crowder took off down the court (along with Avery Bradley). Sullinger took the ball, turned, saw a streaking Crowder and fired a two-handed overhead pass right into Crowder's hands for the layup. No dribbles necessary. Watch the play right here.
"I tipped it first," Turner said after the game. "[Langston Galloway] threw it, I tipped it and I saw it bounce and I didn’t see anybody go for it. I was just trying to hurry up and save it. I saw Sully kind of like even with Lopez, I was just hoping somebody on my team grabbed it and when I threw it I just heard cheers, and I heard even more cheers when I turned around and Crowder laid it up."
Crowder reacted quickly upon seeing Turner head for the loose ball.
"Once I knew he was going for it I was gone," Crowder said, "and by the time Sully caught it I was at halfcourt or beyond. It’s just a matter of if Sully gets his head up he can see . . . He knows I’m always taking off, and if I contest a shot I’m taking off, and expect him wherever he is to clean up. He knows I’m there, and the floor was unbalanced the whole night with the triangle offense. They had a lot of guys below the free throw line, and that gives us opportunities to run for the rim."
Sullinger got a laugh when asked if he's at the point now where he just knows where Crowder is going to be on the outlets.
"Nah. It’s like I have a hot second whether to throw it or not," Sullinger said. "It’s just one of those plays where you say, ‘eh it,’ and you just throw it."
Those were just two of the 30 fastbreak points the Celtics scored Friday night, but there were no two bigger. The play brought the house down, forced the Knicks to take a timeout, and really fired up the Celtics for the final 1:32 of the game.
Here are the Stars, Studs, and Duds from the win.
Another game, another star for Isaiah Thomas - who despite what some people might say, is creeping up to the upper echelon of stars in the NBA. Stephen Curry? No. But he could certainly be included in that second tier of star players. And tonight he proved it with 32 points on just 15 shots. He went 12-for-13 from the free throw line. Thomas had 30 points at the end of three quarters, and was the main reason the Celtics were even in the game at that points.
Turner played all 12 minutes of the fourth quarter because Brad Stevens had no choice but to leave him in - he was too important to take out. Turner finished with 21 points on 10-for-19 shooting. But he had the play of the game late in the fourth quarter (see above) that almost took the roof off the TD Garden.
Melo had his best game of the seasons series against the Celtics, finishing with 30 points on 13-for-27 from the field. He missed his fair share of shots, and went just 2-for-8 from the three-point line, but hit a big, big, turnaround, fadeaway jumper with 21.4 seconds remaining in the game to put the Knicks up one. Unfortunately for him, his deep three in the last second of the game was off the mark.
It didn't look like it was Zeller's game in the beginning, but guess who led the Celtics in scoring in the fourth quarter? That's right. It was Zeller. He had eight of his 12 points in the 5:46 he played in the fourth quarter, hitting 4-for-5 from the field.
If there is a fastbreak point to be had, Jae Crowder will have it. Every time you look up - or a Celtics player looks up - they can find Crowder streaking down the court looking for the transition bucket. The C's know they have to score points this way for a chance to win games. Crowder finished with 20 points on the night on 9-for-19 shooting. The Celtics had a whopping 30 fast break points as a team.
Johnson just didn't seem to have it in this game. He was ineffective in the first half and played just 1:57 total in the second half. He didn't touch the court in the fourth quarter. The Celtics go small now, and Johnson is not part of that lineup. But when they aren't going small, he's becoming less effective lately. He was held scoreless in 13 minutes, and grabbed just two rebounds. They aren't looking for him to produce on offense, but he was also a minus-11.
The Celtics could have used a couple of big shots from Jerebko tonight down the stretch, but he couldn't make it happen. Jerebko went 0-for-4 from the field, including 0-for-2 from the three-point line in the fourth quarter. We have to give him this though: He grabbed eight rebounds.