With starting guard Pablo Prigioni out with a sprained ankle and All-Star center Tyson Chandler struggling in his return from a bulging disk, Kidd and Martin both played the entire fourth quarter Saturday, when the Knicks outscored the Celtics, 18-8. Martin had five points, including the basket that essentially put away the game with 40 seconds left, and three rebounds in the period. Kidd had three rebounds and three steals, disrupting Boston’s offense so badly that the Celtics committed eight turnovers in the period.
“I know what Kenyon can do on the defensive end. J-Kidd, he was just spectacular,” said Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony, recalling a play where Kidd dived on the floor to gain possession and set up Raymond Felton’s trip to the foul line.
“Plays like that, J-Kidd, we expect J-Kidd to make those. K-Mart, on the defensive end, we really don’t have to double-team a lot of people when he’s down there on the post. We can stay home, we can play our schemes, we can do our schemes. He’s playing unbelievable right now.”
With Ray Allen signing in Miami last summer and Rajon Rondo lost for the season with a knee injury, the Celtics are missing their starting backcourt from the previous five years, when they won each Atlantic Division title. They have no true point guard and little experience on their bench, which was outscored 33-4 Saturday.
Boston committed 21 turnovers, leading to 20 points for the Knicks.
“I think, you know, at this point, regardless of we haven’t played together for a long period of time, it’s about our offensive concept and that’s what we preach each and every day,” Pierce said. “Ball movement, make the extra pass. It doesn’t matter who you put out there on the court or how long they’ve been here, that’s our system. We know when we play that way, we’re successful.”