David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
By Patrick Whalen
Well, ladies and gentlemen, we have hit a new high on the disappointment and frustration levels after this game. The Boston Celtics lost to the New York Knicks and, to be honest, let two former number 9 overall busts beat them in Trey Burke and Noah Vonleh. The defense was pitiful as the Celtics gave up 117 points to a Knicks team that entered this game with a record of 4-14 and has guys like Mario Hezonja starting for them. And with no Kristaps playing for the Knicks it just makes this loss even more pitiful. For a team that is built on youth, having more rookies than veterans, the Celtics somehow still allowed for them to shoot 49% from the floor and 50% from downtown (Basketball-Reference.com).
Of course, though this Knicks win this Knicks win was aided by the notorious slow start Celtics as they only scored 18 points in the first quarter and then proceeded to give up 39 points to the Knicks in the second quarter to put them down by 16 at the half. The Celtics stuck with the line up of starting Baynes and having Hayward come off the bench. Baynes struggled again only playing 12 minutes and only getting 1 rebound and 0 points while Hayward played probably his best game as a Celtic in 32 minutes off the bench shooting 6-14 for 19 points with 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals including this bucket (Basketball-Reference.com).
The Celtics had 6 guys in double figures but the issue was the shooting percentage as the team shot 39% from the field and 30% from three. Kyrie, Jayson, and Jaylen were 3 of the players in double figures but also all shot 40% or lower from the floor. The shooting woes also plagued the second unit backcourt as Smart and Rozier combined to shoot 1-8 from the floor. The Knicks meanwhile had Trey Burke going off for a career night, which has become a common theme for the Celtics, as he went for 29 points, 11 assists and 6 rebounds off the bench including a deep two that bounced 16 times before it went down and a dagger 3 with 12 seconds left to quiet the Celtics comeback attempt. Burke was not the only Knick to have a double-double as Noah Vonleh and Enes Kanter both had ones of their own. Kanter with 10 points and 10 boards while Vonleh had 16 points and 10 boards along with 3 blocks. Tim Hardaway Jr. also had a good night with 21 points (Basketball-Reference.com).
Late in the game, the Celts were able to cut the lead to as few as 3 points but Trey Burke went iso at the top of the arc as he got the switch on to Tatum. Tatum then dropped back respecting the drive which allowed Burke to step back fro a three and bury it and give the Knicks a 6 point lead with 12 seconds left. But it should have never come down to a three from Burke at the end because despite the Celtics shooting woes you can’t give up 39 and 33 points in a quarter.
Despite the frustrating loss, there were some bright spots for the Celtics. One was Gordon Hayward playing his best and most complete game as a Celtic. He rebounded well, created offense, scored with the three and getting to the basket, and played well on the defensive end. The other bright spot was that the new City Edition uniforms made their debut tonight and they are some sexy looking uniforms. The Celtics head on the road to face Atlanta next and they need to come out firing in that game and get a much needed win. Maybe a win in Atlanta can get this team on the run we have all been waiting for.