Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Despite the scrappiness of the New York Knicks, the Boston Celtics decisively bested them on their home floor, 118-95.

The Boston Celtics in a large part have rookie Grant Williams to thank for keeping them from falling behind. With centers Enes Kanter and Daniel Theis ruled out due to injury, Stevens gave the nod to Robert Williams; and he struggled.

Brad Stevens went small with the 6’7” Grant Williams and he went to work protecting the interior from Bobby Portis and the rest of New York’s talented lot of power forwards. Grant helped Boston create opportunities off of turnovers; the Knicks gave up 36 points off of turnovers. Grant accumulated 3 steals, two blocks and a plus-16 in the box score.

Early, the Knicks took an 11-2 lead. The Celtics looked all out of sorts; bad shot attempts, misreading passes. Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward struggled. While Tatum did get his feet back under him, scoring a respectable fifteen points, Hayward went 4-10 shooting for just nine points. Jaylen Brown did make his presence known, but got himself into foul trouble before halftime. He finished with nineteen points and made six of his eight free throws (a good sign given how unreliable Brown is from the charity stripe).

The Boston Celtics were out rebounded (55-45) by New York and until the second half, relatively out shot. New York led by five at the intermission. It wasn’t until the third when Grant started to do the dirty work needed, Kemba Walker started to get hot, Marcus Smart started to make 3’s, and the supporting cast began to chip in.

Kemba lead the game with 32 points in a relative home game for him; as he is from the Bronx.

Boston’s offense generated 24 assists against New York’s 15, five players scoring three dimes or more. Kemba and Smart led with four. On defense, the Knicks turned the ball over 25 times, keeping true to the Boston Celtics ability to create chaos for opposing offenses. Boston took good care of the ball, and rode to a smooth victory, improving their record to 2-1 on the year.

The Knicks will stay home to take on the win-less 1-1 Bulls. While the Boston Celtics head back home for a marquee Halloween-Eve match up versus the conference favorite Milwaukee Bucks who are 1-1 coming off a tough defeat from the Jimmy Butler-less Miami Heat.

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