The Boston Celtics and New York Knicks both struggled shooting the ball during the majority of their game on Friday night, but their offenses came alive late in the fourth quarter, producing a spectacular final six minutes. Paul Pierce had an unbelievable flailing dagger of a bucket in the final 30 seconds waived off for coming a tenth of a second after the shot clock expired, giving the Knicks multiple chances to win, but they couldn't convert as the Celtics held on for a 91-89 victory.
Boston took a 5-3 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining in the first quarter and would not take the lead again until late in the fourth. The Knicks lead was as large as 10 points in the third quarter and five points in the fourth quarter. The Celtics' first second-half lead came with 4:23 remaining in the game, when Ray Allen hit a three-pointer to make it 82-79.
For the next three minutes, the teams traded buckets during a frenetic period of play. The Celtics got their lead up to five points until a Tyson Chandler bucket and a Landry Fields lay-up after a steal made it 90-89 in favor of Boston with just over a minute remaining. Pierce's incredible flailing three-point shot -- thrown up in desperation after a scramble for a loose ball on the floor -- that would have been the dagger came with 15 seconds remaining. Unfortunately for the Celtics, the shot was called no good upon video review and the Knicks got the ball back on a shot clock violation.
The result of the next Knicks possession was an awful three-point attempt that was airballed by Fields. Pierce grabbed the rebound and went to the line, but only made one of two shots. That gave the Knicks an opportunity to force overtime without a three-point shot, but their final possession wasn't any better than their second-to-last possession. They were forced to settle for a 20-foot jump shot by Steve Novak, which missed badly just before time expired.
New York is now 2-11 in their last 13 games. They trail the Philadelphia 76ers by eight games in the Atlantic Division. With their win, the Celtics move to 12-10.