Before tonight’s game with the Knicks, coach Brad Stevens said it would be important for Boston to get off to a fast start. Well the Celtics did just that, burying all four of their three-pointers in the first 6 minutes to open-up an 18-4 lead. Ball movement was crisp, guys were moving and things looked good.
Knicks got themselves back into the ballgame in the 2nd, mostly due to some C’s turnovers (8 in the quarter) and Ike Diogu. Diogu led an aggressive Knicks attack down low that got NY 16 points in the paint & 11 free-throw attempts. For the second night in a row, (Spencer Hawes last night) a big man dropped 13 in a quarter on Boston. Diogu’s 13 points helped bring the Knicks to within three with 1:56 left in the half. But a quick 7-1 run by Boston had the C’s back up by nine, 52-43 at the half. Jordan Crawford continued to shine, leading a balanced Boston attack with 10 first-half points.
C’s got back to the team we saw early in the game, opening up the 3rd quarter with a barrage of scoring behind Crawford and Sullinger. Boston had their lead back up nineteen, 67-48 with 6:45 left in the 3rd. Celtics played some of their best ball of the preseason in the 3rd, looking good in transition, on both sides of the ball, and appearing very fluid on offense. Despite a small uprising by New York in the last minute, Boston headed to the final quarter up 83-67. Jeff Green, who was virtually absent the night before, showed some signs of hope with 11 points through 3 Q’s.
Celtics had it on cruise control in the fourth. They clamped down on defense and continued to hustle. Brad Stevens had to be pleased with the way Boston got up and down the floor all night. Good passing, (for the most part) guys not forcing things and playing defense. Celts win easily tonight, 101-81. Granted, this was a Knicks team also on the second night of a back-to-back, and without any of their star players-but you can’t take away from the effort the C’s put out tonight, which was easily their best of the preseason. This was also obviously a much needed confidence booster. C’s are now off until Tuesday when they visit Truth, Ticket & the rest of the Nets in Brooklyn. Tip-off is at 7:30pm.
- Kelly Olynyk had another good game. The kid from Kamloops notched a team-high 15 points on 5 of 6 shooting. Add to that a perfect night from the FT line, 6 rebounds, 3 assists & 2 steals, and you’ve got a great line.
- Jordan Crawford. The man they call “Steez” once again impressed and looked very confident in a starting role. Craw put in 13 points, grabbed 7 rebounds & dished 3 assists.
- Avery Bradley helped set the tone early with uptempo play and also had 13 points & 4 boards. As Tommy noted postgame, Bradley looked much more comfortable tonight w/Crawford doing most of the ball-handling.
- Marshon Brooks quietly had a very efficient night. Brooks got 13 points by shooting 4 of 5 from the field and 5 of 6 from the line. He did a little of everything by tallying 2 rebounds, 2 assists & 3 steals.
- Celtics turned the ball over 18 times
The Grid (quick stats):
- The Knicks never led in this game
- New York launched bricks from downtown tonight: 3 of 18 for 17%
- Celtics won the battle in the paint, scoring 38 points to Knicks’ 36