The fourth quarter was the turning point in the Christmas
day game between the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks. The quarter saw
New York’s Carmelo Anthony take over with an offensive outburst that saw him
score at will. Carmelo gave the Knicks an identity in the fourth quarter as he
was the go to guy. Boston meanwhile struggled as they seemed to lack an
identity. Rajon Rondo tried to keep the team in the game, but there was no one
clear go to guy that Boston could go to for points in a tight game. This lack
of go to guy was what cost Boston the game.
The Celtics clearly missed Paul Pierce during the fourth quarter. Pierce is the guy
the offense runs through during crunch time and gives Boston their identity.
Pierce is the guy that either scores or passes due to a double team. The double
teams of Pierce usually are what give Ray Allen the open look he needs to be
effective in the fourth. The double teams for Paul Pierce give Kevin Garnett
open looks to score on his fifteen foot jumps shot. The double teams of Pierce
allow Rajon Rondo to get to the basket and either score or set up an open
teammate. However, if needed, Pierce can find a way to score despite being
doubled. This is why the end of games are Paul Pierce time in Boston.
Pierce not being there for Christmas cost Boston a game. The Celtics lost by a basket.
I have zero doubt that the team would have found a way to hold their lead in the fourth with Pierce providing the
scoring punch. Pierce would have made Melo work with his quick moves to get an
open look and maybe even took him out of the game with a foul or two(Melo had
four early and was pulled from the game). Even if he did not score, he would
not have given Melo a little more trouble on the defensive end than Pavlovic or
The bottom line is Pierce gives Boston an identity in the fourth quarter. They need
that identity to win. If he misses any serious amount of time the Celtics will
lose games. Celtics fans can only hope his return is soon, but with a bone
bruise preventing him from even running up the court, the Celtics might be in