Knicks 'zzone

Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.

Did two-tenths of a second cost the Knicks? (UPDATED)

Knicks-Celtics 0.8 seconds left.

Knicks-Celtics 0.8 seconds left.

On the official score sheet, Paul Pierce's game-winner sank through with :00.4 showing on the clock. But video review shows the ball completely through the basket with :00.6 on the clock, with a two-tenths of a second of human error factoring into the play.

Those two-tenths proved to be meaningful because Amar'e Stoudemire's potential game-winning three-pointer was waved off after video review confirmed he released the ball after the final buzzer had sounded. If he had six-tenths of a second to get the shot off, the basket might have counted and the Knicks might be celebrating an incredible win.

KnicksTweets has a photo here, too.

UPDATED: During the ensuing timeout, the Knicks coaching staff, including Mike D'Antoni, asked the referees to review the play to make sure the time was accurate. No review took place, however.

According to the NBA Rule Book, Rule 5 (Scoring and Timing), Section V (Stoppage of Timing Devices), (b) Timing devices shall be stopped . . . 2. During the last two minutes of regulation play and/or overtime(s) following a successful field goal attempt.

The rulebook also states that time is only reviewed on out-of-bounds or when buzzer sounds, so there was no requirement by the game officials to check the time on Pierce's shot.

So, for gits and shiggles (if you're in the mood for such things today), check your reflexes in the video below by clicking pause once Pierce's shot goes through the basket. When you do, see what time is showing on the ESPN clock in the lower right corner of the screen.

 

Too late now, of course, but it goes to show you just how close this game really was. 

* * *

* - Now, when it comes down to it, the Knicks didn't lose because of a slow-twitch finger on the time keeper, but because they couldn't get either a make or a stop when one was desperately needed. For all he did in this game, I thought Amar'e showed some fatigue in the final two minutes, when, in an iso against Kevin Garnett, he settled for a 17-foot elbow jumper and missed with 1:39 left and also missed on the chippie with 12.9 seconds left as Paul Pierce slid underneath him on the pick-and-roll.

Pierce said he was surprised that Stoudemire let him go right on the game-winner, but as he drove to the basket, Stoudemire cut off his lane, which set up the step-back jumper. It was a great shot against solid defense. All you can do is tip your cap.

Overall, the Knicks come away from this game knowing they dropped 116 points on the NBA's best defensive team, which is the most Boston has allowed this season and 25 points higher than the average they allowed per game coming into the game. For the most part they forced the Celtics to play at their pace, but what the Celtics proved was they can play at that pace, too, when need be.

* -- Obviously, the other side of that point is that the Knicks, who entered the game giving up the fourth-most points per game this season (though their pace does account for it), gave up 118 points, including 67 in the second half and 35 in the fourth quarter.

* -- Major issue brewing with the bench, or the lack thereof. The Celtics bench outscored the Knicks bench, 24-7. Wilson Chandler is obviously fitting in well as the starting PF next to Amar'e, but the Knicks are missing his production off the bench and aren't getting much of anything out of Toney Douglas. To be fair, D'Antoni went with basically six players in this game, with Ronny Turiaf (8:49) and Shawne Williams (5:31) seeing minimal action, so it's not like anyone was given much of an opportunity.

But the bench is an area of critical need and the Knicks are certainly looking to address it by acquiring a backup point guard who has the ability to run an offense -- Douglas, for all his effort on defense, is just not ready to take over when Raymond Felton needs a breather -- and, obviously, a high-IQ big man with some muscle. The Knicks would love to add a player like a Luke Ridnour if Minnesota was inclined to move him, but it's not easy to find a reliable, intelligent backup point guard for a reasonable price in this league. Stan Van Gundy has Jason Williams and Chris Duhon, two players who certainly would be able to handle the role. Williams' expiring $854,389 is certainly more attractive for the Knicks, but it looks like Williams has moved ahead of Duhon ($3.5M per over three years) on the depth chart. Duhon ran D'Antoni's system well, he just didn't have the ability to get to the rim or shoot it consistently.

As for bigs, Kurt Thomas would be a great fit, though he's starting to show his age. I've been told that the Knicks have looked into the availability of Joel Przybilla as the Trail Blazers appear ready to break up that injury-riddled team. The dream would be to land Marcus Camby for a decent price, but let's not get carried away.

The key to either spot as you Fixers rev up your trade machines is that the player you're bringing in has to be a high IQ player that the coach can trust. We've seen how D'Antoni works: if he doesn't trust you, he's not going to play you.

* - Amar'e Stoudemire (39 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks) clearly outplayed Kevin Garnett (20 points, 13 rebounds, 1 block), though the two were rarely matched up throughout the night, as Doc Rivers went with Semih Erden and Big Baby Davis to bang with Amar'e until later in the game, when KG got the assignment. We already know LeBron James is a given to earn the fan votes as an all-star starter at one forward position in the East, but who will get the other: Stoudemire or Garnett?

It's worth noting that the Knicks haven't had an all-star voted by fans as a starting player since Patrick Ewing in 1992-93.

* - According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Stoudemire's 8-0 record over eight consecutive games of scoring 30 points or more matched the best run in NBA history, which was accomplished by three other men: Moses Malone (1982), Michael Jordan (1996) and Shaquille O'Neal (2001). Stoudemire is now 8-1 as his streak extended the franchise record to nine straight games with 30 or more points.

Looking forward to Friday's game against the Heat, it's worth noting that the last player in the NBA to post 10 straight 30-point performances was LeBron James, who did it for Cleveland from March 22-April 10, 2006.

* - Danilo Gallinari has officially become an enigma. This game was a perfect example of how maddening he can be when he isn't focused on being what this team desperately needs him to be, a No. 2 scorer (0 points in the first half), and then how much better he makes this team when he is engaged (20 points in the second half) and attacking the rim with abandon and shooting with confidence. Worth noting: Meadow Soprano, sitting along celebrity row, was a lot more interested in Second-Half Gallo.

* - Another celebrity row observation: Spike Lee has chosen Landry Fields as his jersey of choice. Tweet of the Night from @TheRealGenovese: "I wonder if @landryfields thought in his senior year at Stanford that in a year Spike Lee would have his jersey on courtside."

In July, Spike was definitely hoping to wear a No. 6 jersey courtside, but no way he expected it to have Fields on the back.

* - Donald Trump drew groans when, during an interview shown on GardenVision (which first aired on MSG Network at halftime) he answered "maybe" to a question about running for President in 2012. Perhaps his campaign would have had better momentum had he been able to convince LeBron James to come to New York.

* - OK, so this is not a rivalry, but Paul Pierce certainly stoked the fire with his home run trot around the Garden floor after his game-winner. He copied the same move he made after hitting the game-winner in a preseason game at MSG in October. But there are now too many games between now and the next time these teams meet for any lingering affects. The Celtics are back on March 21, a tough second game of a back-to-back after playing at Milwaukee. That is, it should be noted, almost a month after the trade deadline. Might the Knicks roster have another star on it by then to better challenge Boston's Big Three?

The final meeting of the season lands on the final game of the season, April 13, at Boston. Will that game have playoff ramifications for the Knicks? If so, then that, for sure, would be the most significant game between the Knicks and Celtics in over a decade. I looked back. The last time a Knicks-Celtics game had any real meaning, it was May 3, 1999: The Knicks clinched the eighth seed in the playoffs that day in a 95-88 win in the second-to-last game of the season.
 

Tags: NBA , Knicks , Amar'e Stoudemire , Paul Pierce , Kevin Garnett , Wilson Chandler , Danilo Gallinari , Luke Ridnour , Jason Williams , Chris Duhon , Kurt Thomas , Joel Przybilla , Marcus Camby , Patrick Ewing , Spike Lee , Landry Fields , Donald Trump , LeBron James

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