The Celtics took on a depleted Knicks squad today. New York was missing Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose, so you’d probably expect heavy diet of Kristaps Porzingis. But in typically bizarre Knicks fashion, Sacha Vujacic took more first-half shots.
The Knicks are a bottom-five defensive team, and that was abundantly clear. Boston took advantage of some awful Knicks defense in the first quarter. Al Horford cooked Hernangomez in the post, and New York’s guards struggled to stay with Isaiah Thomas. Boston had tons of open shots all game. Amir Johnson had an eternity to line up his three-point attempt early in the game.
The Celtics kept up their trend of committing a bunch of turnovers early in the game, but it didn’t matter at all because of how well they shot. They dropped 34 on the Knicks in the first quarter and led by 11.
The Celtics kept the pressure on after a strong first quarter. Jaylen Brown responded after spending some time in Brad Stevens’s doghouse, and the bench played well enough to keep the lead above double digits.
The Knicks were bad with a full squad, but this team is just terrible. At two separate occasions, they attempted some hook shots so aesthetically awful that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar should be sending out cease-and-desist letters.
But the Celtics deserve credit for doing what they’re supposed to do. They moved the ball well to find open shooters and cutters. They took what the Knicks gave them, and that meant a lot of easy baskets.
The Knicks gave it an effort in the third quarter. Porzingis came out aggressive and looking to score. But after that quick start the Celtics did a nice job to contain him on defense. Guards like Rozier and Smart gave some effective help.
The Celtics just kept hitting shots though, which killed any chance of a comeback. Even gifting the Knicks some technical fouls didn’t affect them that much. The Celtics built a lead of over 20 points in the fourth, and bench kept up the effort.
Terry Rozier has had some ups and downs this season. But he made some nice plays in the fourth. He was grabbing steals on the defensive end and finished some nice drives on offense. He also facilitated a fantastic Marcus Smart alley-oop. Not to be outdone, Jaylen Brown had a few thunderous dunks of his own.
By the time the Knicks unveiled their all-undrafted lineup in the fourth, the game was over. It’s been a while since Boston actually blew out a team. It’s impressive to win in such dominant fashion without needing a monster scoring game from IT, even if it is against the Knicks.