During the fourth quarter of Thursday night's Knicks-Celtics game, the TNT broadcast team showed highlights of the last Knicks win in Boston.
Isiah Thomas was the coach, Eddy Curry was the center and Stevie Francis was dishing for easy buckets in a game started by Qyntel Woods. The highlights were enough to leave you shuddering in the corner when they cut back to a game the Knicks were trying to grab in the fourth quarter.
When the Knicks find themselves in that position in Boston, the story usually plays out the same way. The Knicks play tough right up until they make a boneheaded mistake to turn the ball over for a winning shot by Paul Pierce, a script as predictable as it has been effective for the Celtics.
Thinks played out pretty much the same way on Thursday night with one big twist in the third act. Pierce was the bonehead, J.R. Smith was the guy making the big shot and the Knicks were 89-86 winners to finally slay the dragon in Boston.
It was a bit hard to comprehend how everything was playing out for the Knicks. There were signs that things were going the Knicks' way -- Amar'e Stoudemire with a big tip-in, the Celtics unable to hit from outside -- but you can only get fooled so many times before you just waiting for the foot to hit you in the groin.
When Carmelo Anthony got whistled for an offensive foul with a two-point lead and just under two minutes to play, it seemed like the moment when the Celtics grabbed the game because of a brutal Knicks error. You could see the back page of the tabloids festooned with disappointed Knicks faces on Friday morning.
But Kevin Garnett (whose cereal feud with Anthony never mattered) missed at the other end and then Anthony kicked out of a double to a wide-open Smith for a three-pointer that felt as unlikely as any shot in the history of basketball. Smith was 2-of-15 from the floor at that point -- he somehow managed to look even uglier than that line -- and the Knicks were late in a game with the Celtics, so there was great shock when the shot splashed home.
Pierce, closely guarded by Smith, would let the ball bounce of his hands out of bounds on two of the team's final three possessions and the Knicks were able to run out the clock on a win that wasn't nearly as conventionally beautiful as some of their other victories this season. The Knicks slogged around a lot, shot 8-of-28 from three and blew a double digit lead in the early part of the fourth quarter.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, though. After all these years and all these losses, seeing the Celtics get cut off at the knees is something that's glorious to behold any which way it might happen.