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Celtics drop second preseason game to Knicks 114-107

Joe Mazzulla opted to rest the Celtics’ top-6 Monday night against the Knicks. Several key players impressed, including Svi Mykhailiuk, Dalano Banton, and Payton Pritchard.

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Boston Celtics played fiery tonight in their 114-107 loss against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. The team dropped to 1-1 in the preseason, but the Celtics reserves looked extremely locked in with many pundits questioning the depth of Boston’s roster.

After an exhilarating opening victory against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, all of the Celtics starters including Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kristaps Porzingis took the night off on the second game of a back-to-back.

In a great opportunity to earn playing time, head coach Joe Mazzulla started Oshae Brissett, Payton Pritchard, Sam Hauser, Dalano Banton, and Luke Kornet. In a lopsided matchup, Tom Thibodeau opted to start his regular season starters: Jalen Brunson, Quentin Grimes, RJ Barrett, Mitchel Robinson, and Julius Randle.

Payton Pritchard once again led the Celtics with 21 points. Banton followed with 20 points on 19 shot attempts.

Svi Mykhailuk is a career 36 percent three-point shooter and shot over 40 percent last year with Charlotte. The guard had two back-to-back impressive buckets, in which he utilized off ball screens from Sam Hauser. Showing his range, Mykhailuk splashed from downtown and showed his quickness and ability to move and create his shot around screens. Although it’s the second preseason game, he is showing how he can fit on this Celtics roster, particularly next to Tatum and Brown as a motion shooter. The guard finished with 15 points on 5-of-9 field goal shooting, and 3-of-7 three-point shooting.

Neemias Queta showed his aggressiveness on both ends of the court. No. 88 showed strength down low, with a couple of offensive rebounds and putbacks. With Banton’s missed layup, Queta grabbed yet another rebound for the slam. Queta finished with 7 points, 1 block, and 4 rebounds on 3-of-5 field goal shooting.

Dalano Banton showcased some flashy drives to the basket, although he struggled in the second quarter. Not given ample playing time in Toronto, Banton often had the ball in his hands, which included his shot creation skills. He showcased his length, and widely impressed. It’s only preseason, but Banton has shown all the skill sets, including utilizing the pick-and-roll to fit on this roster. Banton erupted for 20 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists on 42 percent field goal shooting.

Defensively, the Celtics had some nice plays, especially with rookie Jordan Walsh and Luke Kornet. Switching between man and zone defense, Boston was able to force the Knicks to rush and miss shots, especially in the second quarter. Walsh, a defensive juggernaut, was able to capitalize off turnovers and score in transition. The former Razorback finished with 4 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals.

Lamar Stevens was highly impressive early on, especially on the defensive end. Matched up with Randle and Robinson, Stevens executive nicely on the interior, grabbing three defensive rebounds by the half.

Despite the loss, the Celtics reserved impressed against the Knicks starters. Payton Pritchard had a slow start after game-high 26 points against the 76ers last night. Nine points in the third, Pritchard showed his limitless range at the end of the fourth quarter. After signing a four-year, $30 million extension yesterday, the point guard looked crisp on both sides of the ball.

Banton, Mykhailiuk, and Kornet could all earn valuable minutes this season, too. With the box score not always revealing the value behind a player, I like what I saw from Kornet defensively. He finished the night -12 on the floor with only 4 points.

The Celtics dominated on the glass, as well as points in the paint. This game was more the reflection of the contributions of their bench more than the final score. Overall, the Celtics foul troubles cost them the game.

Highlight of the night

Svi Mykhailuk had a highlight putback slam after Lamar Stevens missed the three-point shot. Could he be the next slam artist for the Celtics?

Boston will travel to Philadelphia for their third game in three days on Wednesday and will kick off the regular season against the Knicks in New York on October 25.

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