The New York Knicks defeated the Boston Celtics 120-114 on Tuesday night in Madison Square Garden. The loss is the Celtics fourth in a row and their sixth in seven games. The (19-19) Celtics fall to .500 and are now 9th in the jammed packed Eastern Conference.
Carmelo Anthony and rookie Kristaps Porzingis dominated the first half, combining for 28 points in the first quarter. The seven-foot Porzingis hit three of his first four attempts from three, including one from Steph Curry range of 25 feet. Anthony did an excellent job playing off the ball, knocking down five of his first shots. The pair finished the half with 37 points on a extremely efficient 64% shooting.
Surprisingly, neither Carmelo or Kristaps had a large impact on the second half of the game. Carmelo, who sprained his ankle after running into a referee in the second quarter, was only able to play 19 seconds in the third quarter before pulling himself out of the game.
To start the half, Brad Stevens decided to play small ball, putting Marcus Smart in for the struggling Kelly Olynyk. Smart, who was giving up nearly a foot to the Latvian MonStar, did an excellent job playing physical aggressive defense. Porzingis only played only 8 minutes in the second half, after he picked up two early fouls to begin the quarter.
The small lineup of Smart, Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, and Amir Johnson was able to slowly pull the Celtics back into the game. Isaiah Thomas took advantage of the extra space on the floor by repeatedly attacking the paint and getting to rim. He scored 16 of his game-high 34 points in the quarter.
Without Carmelo or Porzingis, Aaron Afflalo carried the Knicks in the second half, scoring 10 points in both the third and fourth quarters, while Jerian Grant and Robin Lopez were also in double-figures.
Perhaps due to the aggressive defense of the small ball lineup, the Celtics also found themselves in foul trouble late in the game. Marcus Smart finished with five fouls as the Knicks shot 27 of 30 from the free throw line.
The Celtics take on the Indiana Pacers in front of a national audience on ESPN on Wednesday night, as they take on Paul George at the (22-16) Indiana Pacers.
For a complete Box Score, click here.
STUD OF THE NIGHT Jared Sullinger
Like a classic TRL Video, Isaiah Thomas is now retired from winning the Stud of the Night Award. He was obviously the Celtics best player on the court, but I don’t know how much more there is to say about his contribution to the team.
Instead, I will bequeath Jared Sullinger the Stud of the Night. Sully grabbed six boards and added twelve points in the fourth quarter and was one of the major reasons the Celtics were able to hang in the game.
DUD OF THE NIGHT Kelly Olnyk
Olynyk is a perfect microcosm for the Celtics season. He has the potential to be very good and often flashes moments of brilliance, but ultimately he is not consistent enough and is prone to ugly performances.
Tonight we got the bad Kelly. He got abused early by Porzingis and was unable to get anything going offensively. He had three fouls and committed one really stupid traveling violation. He did not play in the second half.
VINE OF THE NIGHT Amir Johnson stars in “Shoe Tomfoolery”
WHINE OF THE NIGHT Tonight Evan Turner attempted five three-pointers. Even though Turner is notoriously bad from deep, I have no problem with his shot selection. I think he generally makes the smart basketball play and only takes them when he is open. Only his final missed three, The Logo decided to admire his shot and hold his follow through rather than getting back on defense. This resulted in Derrick Williams scoring a momentum killing wide open dunk in transition.
STAT OF THE NIGHT Knicks Shooting Percentage The Knicks shot 67% in the first quarter and 72% in the fourth. To quote a famous guy, “Its hard to win games when the other team is quite good at putting the ball in hoop at an efficient rate.”
@ OF THE NIGHT