After Paul Pierce dismissed the New York Knicks as “rivals” (really a media fabrication more than any smack talk), he then went out and backed up his words, dropping a season high 32 points including a game winner with .04 seconds left on the clock. Despite a huge performance from Amare Stoudemaire (39 points) including an unlikely 3-pointer in the game’s final moments that came just a little too late, the Celtics pulled out a 118-116 win extending their winning streak to 11 games.
I’ve long been an Amare fan, and his recent tear comes as no surprise to me — he has an offense now running 100% through him. And yes, he is that dynamic of a player (if his dunks aren’t proof enough). I’d expect his success to continue, and if he gets paired up with Carmelo Anthony, watch out.
That said, this game is not proof by any means to me that the Knicks have “arrived.” First of all, the Celtics are notorious for playing down to opponents. They often lose to or have trouble with teams that aren’t of their own caliber. Second of all, the Knicks have not shown any defensive prowess whatsoever and don’t have much depth. How can you possibly expect a team like that to compete with the Celtics or Lakers of the world in a playoff environment?
I still, after all of these past seasons, can’t decide who my favorite Celtic is. It’s either Pierce or Ray Allen. For today at least, Pierce is the man.