Thank you, Avery Bradley and Jeff Green. You each made huge plays in the final minutes of Friday night’s matchup between the Celtics and Knicks to put the game in Boston’s win column.
The first play came from Bradley, who canned a 3-pointer with 2:38 remaining in the contest to put the Celtics on top by two points.
Bradley helped the Celtics turn a Carmelo Anthony miss into a momentum-turning fast break play. Jordan Crawford took the rebound and immediately pushed it up the court. Bradley, as he usually does, fanned out to the right corner and was somehow lost by New York’s defense. Crawford found his backcourt partner and Bradley nailed the 3-pointer that sent the Boston crowd into a frenzy.
It took more than two minutes until Green’s game-changing play arrived. Andrea Bargnani made it a two-point game, at 88-86, with 30.9 seconds remaining in the contest. The Celtics needed a bucket at the other end to seal the game, and Green delivered it in a big way.
Green caught J.R. Smith on a cross-match at the other end of the court and took possession of the ball on the left wing. He knew he had a size advantage over Smith and decided to take advantage of it. Green put the ball on the floor with his left hand and drove to the basket, right through Smith. He bullied right through the 6-foot-6 guard and put home a layup as the referees blew their whistles. And-one.
Green missed the free throw, but his bucket put the Celtics on top 90-86 with 9.5 seconds left. That wound up being the final score of the game.
Boston can thank Bradley and Green for this one. They saved the day.
Key Box Score Line
Jared Sullinger played six uneventful minutes during the fourth quarter Friday night. The only statistic he logged during that frame was a personal foul, which landed him on the bench. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t have an enormous impact on this game.
Sullinger carried the Celtics in the first half by scoring 17 points and grabbing six rebounds against New York. He was literally unstoppable on offense, which forced the Knicks to send him to the free-throw line again and again. Sullinger hit all seven of his freebies in the first half while shooting 5-of-7 from the field.
That performance allowed Boston to jump on top by as many as 17 points in the first half. The Celtics needed to battle back down the stretch to grab Friday’s win, but just imagine where they would have been had Sullinger not provided his performance during the first half.
Boston’s emerging big man finished the contest with 19 points, six rebounds and three assists. He shot 6-of-9 from the field, including a 6-of-8 performance from inside the arc.
Box Score Nuggets
- There were 11 ties and five lead changes in the game.
- Jared Sullinger attempted a game-high seven free throws, hitting all of them.
- Sullinger also led the Celtics with 19 points.
- Kenyon Martin was whistled for the game's only technical foul.
- Jordan Crawford did not make a field goal, but he did lead the Celtics with six assists.
- New York grabbed seven steals to Boston's one.
- Brandon Bass led the Celtics with eight rebounds.
- Two Knicks attempted at least 22 field goals, while Avery Bradley's 12 attempts led the Celtics.
- New York shot just 5-of-21 from 3-point range.
- Courtney Lee scored 18 points off of the bench on 6-of-8 shooting.
- The Knicks shot just 5-of-21 (23.8 percent) from long range.
Quote of the Night
That's exactly what our team needed. We needed to have a lead, lose it, and figure out (how to get the win). Brad Stevens on Friday's gameMore quotes >>