In a nutshell
Remember when Madison Square Garden was lively and exciting? Neither do I! It was a slow, sluggish win after a wild day of basketball news. Just about every regular rotation player for the Celtics had a solid game against a Knicks team that was ravaged by a blockbuster mid-week trade. Final score: Celtics 113, Knicks 99.
What went right
- Gordon Hayward (14 points, 5-8 shooting) threw down a STRONG alley-oop in the first quarter. It was a pretty lame 12 minutes otherwise, so it was nice to see some energy injected into the game. Jaylen Brown (11 points, 5-12 shooting) had a nice fast break dunk as well. Boston led 25-20 at the end of the quarter after trailing 13-4 early. It was a 56-47 lead at halftime.
- Boston’s offense has undergone two notable changes in the recent weeks: 1) More cuts to the basket. 2) More drives to the basket. Jayson Tatum (13 points, 6-15 shooting) drove the ball aggressively throughout the first half, and Kyrie Irving (23 points, 9-20 shooting) made the most of an off-ball opportunity with a cut behind an unsuspecting defender. The NBA is in a three-point revolution, but points are still points and they’ll add up quickly if you can score them uncontested at the rim.
What went wrong
- Should I be annoyed that the Celtics played down to the competition? As a Celtics fan, I fully understand the power of unproven players teaming up under unlikely circumstances to topple a formidable opponent. Regardless, this game was a little too sloppy. The Celtics have been pretty mediocre on the road all season – especially against bad teams – so I guess I can just be satisfied with the win.
- Terry Rozier posted a 2-9 shooting night while getting cooked on defense. The Celtics have hit a nice stride where they can win games comfortably when everybody isn’t playing their best now that Brown and Hayward have started to come around, but I’m not too excited about Rozier slumping against the worst roster the Celtics have played against all season.
What the hell
Well, the pre-game media circus was really something, huh? I’m amazed at how much BS you can spoon feed people before they check what they’re eating. You’re telling me something happened between the Toronto game (where Kyrie grabbed his jersey and pointed aggressively at the “BOSTON” stitching) and now that made him want to leave? If you buy into misleading information that easily, then I have a border wall to sell you. I’ll throw in a DeMar DeRozan Lakers jersey for free.