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Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Porzingis, Tatum Lead the Way as Celtics Beat Knicks

Kristaps Porzingis scored 12 fourth quarter points as the Boston Celtics rallied from a six point deficit to defeat the New York Knicks 108-104 in the season opener for both teams. Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with a game-high 34 points and a game-high tying 11 rebounds while shooting 13-22 from the field and dishing for four assists. Porzingis finished with 30 points, eight rebounds, four blocked shots, and a game-high +13 plus/minus number. Derrick White added 12 points, Jaylen Brown had a quiet performance by his standards (11 points, six rebounds, five assists), and Jrue Holiday contributed nine points, four rebounds, and three assists in his debut for Boston.

R.J. Barrett and Immanuel Quickley each scored 24 points for the Knicks, while Jalen Brunson (15 points on 6-21 field goal shooting) and Julius Randle (14 points on 5-22 field goal shooting) struggled to score. Randle had a very good floor game (11 rebounds, seven assists, no turnovers) but he also had a game-worst -13 plus/minus number. A major unanswered question for the Knicks is whether Randle can be a productive and efficient scorer against elite teams; his performance against the Celtics echoes his career playoff averages (17.1 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 3.7 apg, .344 FG%).

The Celtics led 30-18 at the end of the first quarter, paced by Porzingis' 15 points and Tatum's 10 points. The Celtics shot 11-21 (.524) from the field while holding the Knicks to 7-26 (.269) field goal shooting, and it looked like the Knicks did not belong on the same court with the Celtics--but the Knicks settled down in the second quarter and outscored the Celtics 28-21 despite shooting just 10-24 (.417) from the field. The Knicks shot 5-14 from three point range, with Quickley scoring eight points and shooting 2-3 from beyond the arc in just 6:58 of playing time.

The Celtics won the third quarter 31-27 despite the Knicks shooting 5-10 (.500) from three point range, and thus led 82-73 heading into the final stanza. The fourth quarter was high scoring but also a bit of a slog as both teams struggled to make field goals; the Celtics shot 5-14 (.357) from the field while the Knicks shot 10-26 (.385) from the field, but the Celtics still scored 26 points because they shot 14-15 from the free throw line and the Knicks scored 18 of their 31 points from beyond the arc. The Celtics never trailed prior to the 8:56 mark of the fourth quarter, when Josh Hart's three pointer put the Knicks up, 86-84. Neither team led by more than three points until Quentin Grimes' three pointer with 4:10 remaining gave the Knicks a 99-93 lead. Porzingis then scored nine points down the stretch--including a three pointer with 1:29 remaining to put the Celtics up 104-101--to clinch the Boston victory.

Despite the lapses midway through the fourth quarter, overall this was a solid performance by the new-look Celtics, who are integrating offseason acquisitions Porzingis and Holiday into the starting lineup. The Knicks showed once again that they are capable of competing with an elite team, but it remains to be seen how often they can beat elite teams.

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posted by David Friedman @ 11:55 PM



At Thursday, October 26, 2023 3:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FTs: NYK 14/26; BOS 22/26. Can larger conclusions be drawn, when outcome likely would've been different absent NYK FT bricks?

At Thursday, October 26, 2023 4:42:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


I would hesitate to focus on one stat from one game and draw conclusions. The Knicks have produced a body of work over the past several seasons showing that, even though they have improved, they do not fare well against elite teams; one game they might miss free throws, another game they may not defend well, another game they may not shoot well from the field, but the overall pattern of results is consistent. I would suggest that this game falls into that larger pattern. Over the course of the next 81 games and the playoffs we will see more evidence to confirm or refute my take.


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