10.28.2008

Knicks Drop Celts to Second Place

Celtics Fall to 15-4
1981-82 Boston Celtics

Michael Ray Richardson scored 27 points and added 16 rebounds and Campy Russell had 16 points as the New York offense rolled over the Celtics , 103-83 last night at Madison Square Garden.

Cedric Maxwell's 17 points and 16 each by Larry Bird and Nate Archibald led the Celtics .

Maurice Lucas had 15 for the Knicks before fouling out in the last seconds, and Sly Williams added 13.

New York led 31-19 at the quarter and 59-47 at the half, before taking a 23-point advantage with 9:11 left in the third period. At the end of the third, Boston cut the margin to 13 and twice closed to within nine points in the fourth period.

The best Celtic halftime approach would have been the old "at-least- we're-no t-down-by-20" theory.

The actual intermission deficit was 12 points, that coming on a lucky banked three-pointer with a second to go by Mike Newlin, whose re-entry to the game with 30 seconds remaining in the half had been greeted with hearty booing.

The three-point job was in respose to a followup with 13 seconds left by Cedric Maxwell, who had led a Boston countersurge in the final six minutes of the half that saved the game from being a blowout.

New York had totally dominated the game from the beginning, building up a lead that was 41-23 with 9:41 remaining in the second quarter on a jumper by Campy Russell. The Knicks had not allowed much first-quarter sparring in this one, grabbing the lead at 2-0 when Maurice Lucas turned Bill Cartwright's block of a Chris Ford drive into a fast-break dunk. The Celtics never led in the half, and were last really in the game at 10-7.

The prime Knicks in the first quarter were Lucas, who had eight points; Cartwright, who was aggressive inside; and especially Michael Ray Richardson, who had 13 points and eight rebounds in the opening period alone.

New York ran off five successful fast breaks in as many running attempts, rebounded strongly and played sound enough defense. In short, the Knicks dominated every major department of the game against a Celtics' team that could only manage 6-for-23 shooting in the first quarter.

It was 31-19, New York after one, and midway through the second quarter nothing much had changed, as New York was still leading by a 45-28 score. However, a key Bill Fitch substitution idea gave the Celtics some life. Fitch replaced Tiny Archibald and Larry Bird with Charles Bradley and Kevin McHale, and those three combined with Rick Robey, Maxwell and Gerry Henderson to twice reduce the deficit to nine points, a much more respectable situation. Maxwell keyed the surge with strong two-way play, and he was abetted by a nice Henderson display.

The Knicks had to play the final 15 minutes of the half without Lucas, who had picked up his third personal foul after getting off to a very strong start. The Celtics, meanwhile, were also in foul difficulty as Robert Parish had four and Robey had three.

Boston's best spurt was a run of seven straight points that reduced the New York margin to 52-43 with 3:13 left, but Larry Demic sneaked in with a third-effort tap-in that stopped the Celtics' momentum.

The loss, coupled with Philadelphia's victory over New Jersey, dropped the Celtics back into second place.

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