How the game was won: Ray Allen scored a team-high 24 points to pace all five Boston starters in double figures, while Rajon Rondo produced another double-double (15 points, 16 assists). David Lee scored a game-high 28 points for the Knicks. Nate Robinson (4 points) and Eddie House (4 points) were largely nonfactors; second-year forward Bill Walker (7 points) turned out to be the most productive member of last week’s five-player swap.
Turning point: Clinging to a one-point lead with less than two minutes to play, Kevin Garnett fed Marquis Daniels slashing to the basket for a 109-106 advantage. The defense took over from there. Boston led by 11 after a 38-point, first-quarter outburst, but the Knicks rallied to make it a game deep into the fourth quarter.
Stat of the game: The Boston bench combined for 29 points. Not exactly the type of output expected with the addition of Robinson, but Daniels (14 points) drew a start in place of Paul Pierce (injured thumb, flu).
Unsung hero: Allen continues to shoulder the offensive load since the trade deadline, scoring 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Allen added 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. What’s more, his block on Wilson Chandler with 48.9 seconds to go forced a 24-second violation and helped Boston maintain the lead in a one-possession game.
What it means: The Celtics got sucked into playing New York’s frenetic style, but after giving up back-to-back 30-point quarters in the second and third, the defense clamped down in the fourth quarter. Without Pierce and playing their first game with Robinson, the Green will take it, but this one shouldn’t have been quite as difficult as it was.