The rust expected after a week long layoff never presented itself for the Boston Celtics Friday in a win over the Orlando Magic.
But it did appear in spades for Boston Sunday afternoon against the New York Knicks in a Murphy’s Law type of day for Celtics. The C’s were never able to overcome their sluggish play, shooting 29.8 percent (25-for-84) from the floor and a dismal 15.2 percent from three by hitting just 7-of-46 treys, as the Knicks snapped Boston’s five-game winning streak with a 105-75 beat down at TD Garden. For Boston, it was by far its lowest scoring output of the season.
Not even the return of All-Star guard Kemba Walker, who played in his first game this season after nursing a lingering knee ailment, could energize the Celtics. Walker played on a minutes restriction, but didn’t look hindered by the knee injury and put up nine points on 3-of-13 shooting to go along with four assists, three steals and five turnovers in 19 minutes. Walker left the game late in the third quarter after sustaining what looked like an injury to his midsection, but it wasn’t deemed serious.
Boston, who turned the ball over 17 times, looked listless from the outset and never held a lead in the contest. After a dismal first half, especially offensively, that had the Celtics trailing, 48-35, at the break, things got even worse for Boston.
The Knicks began the third quarter with a 12-2 run to push their lead to 23 and seized complete control as Boston’s uninspired effort never allowed it climb back into the game.
Aside from Jaylen Brown, who netted a game-high 25 points on 9-of-20 shooting, and Marcus Smart (10 points), no other member of the Celtics reached the double-figure mark in scoring. The Celtics bench, which has been particularly strong thus far this season, had a difficult showing as Semi Ojeleye and Jeff Teague both went scoreless through three quarters and Teague didn’t produce any points for the game.
The Knicks were led by Julius Randle, who posted a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Immanuel Quickly with a 17-point, eight-assist performance off the bench.
There was only one silver lining for the Celtics in the blowout defeat and that was Jayson Tatum didn’t play due to health and safety protocols.