Celtics Blow Out Knicks on their ‘Home Court’ — Oct 26, 2019: Boston 118 NY 95

What a Disaster.

The Celtics turned a 72-72 tie in the middle of the 3rd quarter into a massive blowout of the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on a Saturday night. MSG fans were BOOING point guard Dennis Smith Jr and CHANTING “We Want Frank” — trying somehow to effect the stubborn coach David Fizdale to put Frank Ntilikina in. Ntilikina who had suffocated Kemba Walker in the FIBA tournament just this summer, helping France beat the USA team that Kemba was star of. The same Kemba Walker that was torching the Knicks throughout the 3rd and 4th quarters of this game for the walkaway blowout win.

Kemba Walker finished with 32 points on 11 for 17 shooting (7 of 12 from 3), and didn’t have to play the final minutes as Boston had the giddy lead. It got so bad that fans (must have been Boston fans) were chanting for Boston to bring in their 7’5 project Tacko Fall, who entered and then had seemingly most of the Garden loudly rooting for him to score, which he did to massive cheering.

All the preseason talk of “Protecting Home Court” was a distant memory. A failed promise. Bull shit. You can be physically tough all you want — if the other team executes and hits 3’s they’ll run you out of your own building. The Celtics ran the Knicks out of their own building.

The loss had most of Knicks Twitter calling for accountability of whether David Fizdale should be the coach of this team. The next game is at home against Chicago. If the Knicks lose, Fizdale could be on the hot seat. Mike Miller and Keith Smart are assistant coaches waiting in the wings.

The Saturday Night Started Off Great

The evening started spectacularly as the Knicks scored 13 straight points to take a 13-2 lead. Boston coach Brad Stevens called a timeout — and after the timeout Boston came out with a much better defense. By the end of the 1st quarter they were back in the game. They tied it in the 2nd quarter, but the Knicks finished the half with an 8-0 run to take a 5-pt lead. They seemed in command. Boston quickly tied it early in the 3rd, and the lead went back and forth until the 72-72 mark.

Dennis Smith Jr. it goes without saying was a disaster — bad shooting and bad movement on the court. On one play, he did a bunch of fancy dribbling then hoisted up a contested 2 and missed, while all the other Knicks stood watching, waiting for him to possibly pass the ball. The next time down he threw the ball away, then awkwardly fouled the 3-pt shot in the other direction. According to Jonathan Macri, who was at the game, “The Knicks were down 4 when Dennis Smith Jr checked into the game. The lead only grew to 8 when he checked out, but the life completely went out of the team. It was unmistakable.”

The Good News

RJ Barrett played terrifically again. He is starting to remind me of a 19-year-old LeBron James — not that he is as good as LeBron but his size, confidence, and seeming ability to do what he wants to on the court, when he wants to. He seems to be a 19-year-old man playing against boys.

Barrett had 26 points on 9-20 shooting (4 for 6 from 3), 7 rebounds and 3 assists — and good defense.

More good news — Mitchell Robinson is getting back to being the player we saw last year — blocking 3’s and slamming alley oop after alley oop in. He started off the game great — very active, got into foul trouble, but finished great — 17 points on 7-7 shooting, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks in 20 minutes. Elfrid Payton especially hit him up with some nice alley oops.

Julius Randle played pretty good ball — 10 points on 3-10, 10 rebounds and 3 assists. And former Celtic Marcus Morris added to the bright spots with 12 points and 7 rebounds.

The Bad News

Allonzo Trier was paired with Dennis Smith Jr and did not do well — 0-4 for 2 points and a -25. Bobby Portis had 8 points and 11 rebounds but his defense was noticeably not great. He got blocked inside by Boston’s undrafted unheraled but big and talented young center Robert Williams III on one play.

Etcetera

Wayne Ellington, who hit the 3 big 3’s the night before against Brooklyn — oddly did not play. Maybe a minor injury.

For Boston, in addition to Kemba’s 32, Jaylen Brown had 19, Jayson Tatum 15, and Gordon Hayward 9 points.

The Boxscore

https://www.espn.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=401160671

 

 

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