The NY Knicks came ready to play this afternoon in Boston. A great showing for the Knicks on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively. The Celtics were unable to get into a groove all game and the Knicks made sure to take full advantage. The Knicks had come into the game with a five-game losing streak, but their play today certainly opened up some eyes.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau is celebrating his 63rd birthday today and with the Knicks help, he celebrated it in style. There were positives up and down the court for the Knicks to take as they look to win their win again tomorrow. They head back home to face off against the Orlando Magic, who are coming off a 122-115 loss to the Nets on Saturday. Before that, they fell big to the Celtics, 124-97, whom the Knicks just handled very easily.
The Knicks got the game started early and often as they outscored the Celtics, 28-17. While the Knicks were not particularly strong from the line in the first, they still came out with an eleven point lead. Turnovers and missed three-point jumpers were the story of Boston’s first-quarter struggles. The Celtics had eight turnovers in the first quarter alone, to go alone with six, yes, six missed three-point shots from downtown. The Knicks were able to establish some early breathing room and refused to relinquish it.
The second quarter was generally more or less the same as the first quarter, though the Knicks didn’t keep up with their scoring pace. After scoring 28 in the first quarter, they responded by getting 20 in the second quarter. The Celtics finished with 18 points, after scoring 17 in the first quarter. The Knicks extended their total lead to thirteen points at halftime. Strong defense, clutch shooting, in addition to terrible shooting and costly turnovers by the Celtics allowed the Knicks to hold their own. Despite struggling at the line, the Celtics continued to fire three after three. The Celtics attempted eight threes in the second quarter and managed to make only one, a Kemba Walker jump shot a couple minutes in.
The Knicks came out after the half even stronger. The Celtics continued their horrible shooting ways and the Knicks were able to keep up. The team would match and respond with any Celtics score and then some. As a result, the Knicks finished the third quarter up by even more points. The Knicks lead jumped to 25, as the Knicks led 75-50 after three. They attempted six three-point jumpers in the third quarter, with three entering the basket (two via RJ Barrett). Barrett, the Knicks 2019 first pick, looked more comfortable today after a shaky finish against the Cavaliers.
The Celtics were going to need a fast start to the fourth quarter to even dream of a comeback. The Knicks were fortunately able to continue to hold them, and the Celtics were still unable to get in an offensive groove. The Knicks finished the quarter with their highest output at 30 points, with the Celtics doing the same on their end for 25. As a result, the Knicks finished every quarter with a lead that continued to be extended. An all-around excellent team game for the Knicks, who were able to end their five-game losing streak, no less against the #1 team in the East. The Knicks will enter tomorrow’s matinee against the Orlando Magic at 6-8, while the Magic enter the game at 6-7.
Just an overall team win that was aided by Boston’s shooting struggles. Five Knicks were able to reach double-digit scoring, with Julius Randle leading the pack at 20 points. Randle also led the team in rebounds at 12, with Barrett narrowly trailing him with 11. Immanuel Quickley had eight assists, which led the team, along with 17 points, in another game off the bench. Quickley continues to prove his worth by the game to coach Tom Thibodeau. We will see if Quickley is rewarded for his success and strong play tomorrow in a big game aginst the Magic. The two teams will likely be battling each other for one of the final playoff spots this season. Following the Knicks home game tomorrow, they will head out west for a four-game set.