BLOWOUT. 5 Reasons Why Knicks 105 Celtics 75 on Jan 17, 2021

The Knicks ended a 5-game losing streak by RIPPING Boston, start to finish, in Boston on an arena-empty Coronavirus Sunday afternoon in mid January 2021. The Knicks were up by 11 at the end of the 1st quarter, up by 13 at the half, and up by 30+ points throughout the 2nd half. A start-to-finish blowout.

The reasons why:

1. Coaching

Coaching is 65 % of the NBA. That’s a number I pull out of thin air, but I feel is just about right. Yes you need Talent to win in the NBA, but even more so you need great coaching. Talented teams with bad coaches lose a lot of games; even Shaq and Kobe together were a .500 team until Phil Jackson came along.

The Knicks have a lot of young talent now; and now they have a great coach in Tom Thibodeau. Mike Miller looked like a good coach when he picked up the reigns at the end of last season. But Thibodeau has pedigree — being the magic sauce behind Boston winning in 2009.

In this game, the Knicks played tremendous Defense all night, and executed well on offense — the mark of excellent coaching by Thibodeau and his assistant coaching staff.

2. The Point Guards Executed

Elfrid Payton started and was terrific; Immanuel Quickley finished and was equally terrific. Payton got the Knicks going with his dribble penetrations, opening up the Boston defense, scoring on drives, or passing out for wide-open 3’s by the likes of RJ Barrett.

Payton also did an excellent job defending Kemba Walker, who was back for his first game of the year after injury. Payton disrupted Walker’s dribble at times, almost stealing it once, and seemed to cause Kemba to always be looking over his shoulder when he was taking 3’s. Coach Thibodeau has said he likes Payton’s size and defense, as well as his dribble penetration and orchestration. Kemba finished 3-13 (1-8 from 3) for 9 pts in 20 minutes, a -9.

Then Quickley came in and attacked relentlessly putting Boston on their heels. Then Payton came back in, and it was more dribble penetration. Then Quickley came back in and it was more attack, attack, attack. You get the picture. What a tag team point guard combo the Knicks have.

Payton finished with 9 pts on 3-9 shooting (3-3 from free throw line), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal, and a block for a +15.

Quickley was 7-12 (2-4 from 3) for 17 pts and 8 assists in 21 minutes and a +20.

3. Randle and Barrett

Julius Randle and RJ Barrett continue to star for the Knicks. Randle had another BEAST game — 7-14 shooting (2-5 from 3, 4-5 in free throws) for 20 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and a +29. Yowsa.

Barrett was 5-11 (2-4 from 3, 7-8 in free throws) for 19 pts, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and a +32. Yowsa Yowsa.


And then there was the DEFENSE, which is an extension of the coaching mentinoned above. Mitchell Robinson anchored that defense — 8 pts on 4-5 shooting, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 24 minutes. He took a hard fall while blocking a shot early in the game, took a rest but came back to continue to help the Knicks dominate defensively inside.

Nerlens Noel came in and also played 24 minutes, scoring 5 pts with 2 blocks.

Randle, Reggie Bullock, Payton, and RJ Barrett are all strong defenders — yes Julius Randle too — has become an excellent defensive power forward the last 2 years.

Boston was without Jayson Tatum, but it doesn’t seem like his presence would have made a big difference. Jaylen Brown led Boston in scoring with 25 pts on 9-20 shooting. Marcus Smart (10 pts) was the only other Celtic in double figures. They scored 75 pts as a team remember.

5. Toppin Icing on Cake

And Obi Toppin was icing on the cake — he had his first full game back from injury and looked Terrific; 12 pts on 5-8 shooting (2-4 from 3) in 17 minutes, 5 rebounds. He is quick, has good handle, loves the baseline, is an astute head’s up player and passer, and has a nice looking and accurate 3-pt shot.

Toppin ate into Kevin Knox‘s minutes — Knox got 15 minutes and was 1-3 (1-2 from 3) for 3 pts and a +3.

At the end, Thibodeau emptied the bench giving Dennis Smith Jr. Theo Pinson, and Iggy Brazdeikis some burn.

The Boxscore

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