In the final outing of a two game road trip, both teams provided an entertaining Sunday Matinee in New York. Boston was looking to bounce back following a loss in Brooklyn two days prior, the Knicks were hoping to snap a 5-game losing streak. Marcus Morris (neck) did not suit up for the home team Knicks and news from the Celtics is Gordon Hayward is he is getting closer every day.
Jayson Tatum led the Celtics on the break, hitting on two fast breaks early. As has been a hallmark of this team early in the season, they were scrappy at getting into the passing lanes and attacking on the break.
Tatum gets the steal + Walker takes it under the rim for two pic.twitter.com/0RWful6cuk— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) December 1, 2019
As with the previous encounter between these teams, Julius Randle was again a handful, he bullied into the paint early with his burly frame and exposed the Celtics lack of muscle early, with the Knicks scoring on 18 points in the paint in the first quarter alone.
The recent fantastic play of Brad Wanamaker continued in this one as the Philly Bull hit on his first triple and sneaked into the key for back to back baskets. Both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are playing with confidence this season and it showed as Brown backed down rookie RJ Barrett for his trademark turnaround floater in the key whilst Tatum is just shooting without hesitation.
The Celtics bench has been great in spurts this season and also inconsistent. Brad Stevens is still tinkering around the edges and 11 players saw minutes in the first half alone. Boston let the Knicks hang around throughout the opening 24 minutes as the half ended 58-57.
New York then stormed into the lead to start the third quarter and the injuries befell the Celtics once more as Marcus Smart stayed down following a clash with Kevin Knox II.
since start of west coast trip, Smart has been the Operation game board.— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) December 1, 2019
Today in NY, he got hit in the eye and whatever happened here.
No one needs a few days off more than Smart.
Kemba Walker who struggled with his shot in Brooklyn, was once again cold hitting on just 6 made field goals from 17 in this one. Walker struggling, would look to set up others though with 10 assists in the game. Enes Kanter (11 points, 6 offensive rebounds) had a solid game with a double double and was gobbling up the offensive rebounds once more providing muscle inside and much needed points in the paint.
Back and forth both teams went in the final stanza and the Celtics clawed back into the game behind a the good play of Jayson Tatum (30 pts, 7 asts) and Jaylen Brown (28 pts, 11-18) who combined for 9-21 from three. The Jays had a brilliant overall game showing poise and intensity to lead the team and basically overrun Knicks in the forth.
The big news out of this game though is the health of Marcus Smart as the team return home for a three-game home stand and a visit from the hot Miami Heat.