Earl Barron and Danilo Gallinari stole the thunder from Nate Robinson’s return to the garden last night, leading the Knicks to a 104-101 victory over the Boston Celtics. Gallinari scored 31 points including a bank shot in the closing minutes that gave the Knicks a 102-101 lead before David Lee hit the clinching basket with 7 seconds left. Barron contributed 17 points and 18 boards in his first start since being brought in from the D-League.
The crowd gave a polite but far from enthusiastic ovation to Nate Robinson when the entered the game late in the first quarter. He finished with 5 points and 5 assists and helped the Celtics grab the lead early in the 4th quarter. In contrast to Robinson’s welcome, the crowd was very much alive when Charles Oakley was announced to be in attendance and shown on the jumbotron.
Ray Allen paced Boston with 17 points. Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins both had 14 points but the Celtics, who are trying to establish positioning for the playoffs, were lambasted by coach Doc Rivers, who wasn’t happy with his teams’ performance. “We didn’t execute. It was simple as that. I thought we just showed up tonight and played basketball, and we had no focus. We deserved to lose. The bank shot that Gallinari hit, that was the basketball gods punishing us for not having great focus. You let them hang around, bank shots happen. I just thought we absolutely deserved that.”
The basketball gods have not been kind to the Knicks all season but last night luck was on their side.