Photo Credit: Elise Amendola, AP
Knicks suffer huge defeat to the Celtics
After a disappointing loss to a struggling Washington Wizards team, the New York Knicks were looking to bounce back against the Boston Celtics. In the previous matchup, Trey Burke dropped 29 points to lead the Knicks to an unlikely victory over the Celtics in Boston. Tonight, the Knicks were without Burke, who suffered an MCL sprain against the Wizards. Without Burke’s much-needed scoring pop, the Knicks fell to a resurgent Celtics team 128-100.
Since Marcus Smart was inserted into the Celtics starting lineup, the Celtics have been playing remarkably better. The last time when the Knicks and Celtics faced off, the Celtics were struggling, and the Knicks made sure to take advantage. Now, the Celtics have returned to prime form and overwhelmed the Knicks, who are still developing under David Fizdale’s tutelage
Celtics took advantage of Enes Kanter
New York trailed the whole game, and there were many reasons why the Knicks couldn’t overcome the Celtics. The first reason being Enes Kanter’s poor defense in the screen and roll. Any time Kanter was on the court, Al Horford and Kyrie Irving rubbed their hands together like Birdman. Together, they bullied Kanter, and the Knicks’ team defense had no response to Horford and Irving’s screen and roll masterpiece.
Resurgent Celtics team defense frustrated the Knicks late
Another reason why the Knicks were laid to rest by the Celtics was the Celtics’ team defense. This season, Fizdale has been trying to drill into his players to play hard defense and force turnovers. By doing so, it’ll allow the Knicks point guards to push the pace and get easy baskets on the fast break. The playing style Fizdale is trying to ingrain into his players is the same playing style the Celtics used to beat Fizdale’s young Knicks. Overall, the Celtics forced the Knicks to turnover the ball 17 times, which led to 26 fast break points.
In the first half, and for most of the third quarter, the Celtics didn’t play great defense. For the most part, it seemed like the Knicks and Celtics were playing a glorified pickup game, but when it mattered the most, the Celtics players put their big boy pants on and stifled the Knicks offense.
With 3:49 left in the third, Tim Hardaway Jr. nailed a three to cut the Celtics lead to seven, 89-82. Afterward, the Celtics went on a 10-2 run to end the third quarter. That run put the game to rest as the Knicks couldn’t find a way to get back into the game. In the fourth, more of the same action occurred, and the Celtics increased their lead until the game was beyond the Knicks’ reach.
It’ll be hard for David Fizdale to find a positive in this game
Usually, finding a positive in a 28-point blowout loss is a near impossible task, even for the most optimistic souls. This game is one of those games that Fizdale is going to have to “chalk it up to the game.” In other words, Fizdale needs to throw this game in the trash can and help his players focus on their next game. There were so many negatives that the only positive Fizdale can point to is the fact that the Knicks outrebounded the Celtics by one, 47-46. Besides that, the Celtics mauled the Knicks in every way possible.
New York Knicks and Boston Celtics stats
Hardaway Jr. continues to prove that he’s the Knicks main weapon on offense. He finished with 22 points. Noah Vonleh and Kanter were the double-double brothers tonight. Vonleh posted 12 points and 10 rebounds while Kanter posted 14 points and 11 rebounds. Emmanuel Mudiay was a prime part of the action, finishing with 17 points and 6 assists, and the rookie Kevin Knox added 11 points off the bench.
Irving led the resurgent Celtics with 22 points and 8 assists. Jaylen Brown was a monster off the bench. He ended the game with 21 points. Horford responded to Vonleh and Kanter’s double-double with a double-double of his own. He contributed with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Star second-year player Jayson Tatum added 17 points. Boston’s pit bull off the bench, Terry Rozier, had 11 points and 7 rebounds. Daniel Theis and Marcus Morris both finished with 10 points each.
Knicks have a chance to redeem themselves against the Brooklyn Nets
Despite the horror show performance tonight at the TD Garden, the Knicks will have a chance to redeem themselves against their city rivals, the Brooklyn Nets. Since losing Caris LeVert to injury, the Nets have struggled. If the Knicks play up to par, beating the Nets won’t be a hard task to accomplish. Likewise, if the players go into the game thinking its already won, the Knicks may come out the gates lethargic which will be dangerous against a Nets team desperate for a win to snap their 8-game losing streak.
Leaving Boston, the Knicks will be sick. Luckily, there’s a possible remedy waiting at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.