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With All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving out with a bruised quad, and Marcus Smart still nursing his injured hand, Terry Rozier got the first start of his NBA career.
It didn't start out so well, with Enes Kanter winning the tip and Kristaps Porzingis got the New York Knicks on the board first, but Terry got the Boston Celtics on the board shortly after for the Cs' first points. Jaylen Brown also got in on the action early, nailing a trey then converting an Al Horford steal on the next possession. Rozier started to get hot from deep, hitting three-for-three early and forcing a timeout at the seven-minute mark. It didn't help, as he made a swooping layup shortly afterwards, nearly followed up by a second.
Horford helped carry the load early, logging four assists before he even scored his first bucket at the four-minute mark, and soon Jayson Tatum and Abdel Nader joined him. Michael Beasley started to warm up as the final minutes of the first wound down and likely conjuring a performance most of us would rather forget, but the Celtics managed to hang onto their lead at 27-24.
The second frame began with a quick Jaylen basket, but Lance Thomas and Beasley tied the game up at 29 just under the 11-minute mark. Free throws and a trey from Marcus Morris gave Boston the lead back in a hurry, bolstered by a posterization of Porzingis. Kanter and Tim Hardaway Jr. got the Knicks to within two with about four left in the half, but a traditional three-point play by Morris and a jumper by Tatum gave the Celts some breathing room. Boston could have added to the lead if not for several missed opportunities in the half's final minutes, but still managed to hang onto a 50-45 lead going into halftime.
Tatum got Boston on the board just seconds into the third quarter, and a Rozier tip-in of an Aron Baynes miss gave the Celts their largest lead of the night at 54-45. Aron managed to convert a Kristaps turnover shortly after, but the Knicks refused to go away, staying close despite Al warming up all over the court. Rozier, Tatum and Horford kept the pressure on, though, slowly building an 11-point lead as the third wound down, extended to a 14-point lead after a Morris three.
Both Morris and Brown stayed hot, extending the lead to 16, but a pair of quick Beasley layups cut the lead to 12, but a scary steal and dunk resulting in Beasley clipping Morris' head, causing him to fall hard broke up the play and really pissed the crowd (and me) off. This seemed to galvanize the Celts, who started hitting up and down the rotation, with Nader, Semi Ojeleye, and Tatum scoring ten straight points in response, putting the score at 67-91 with ten to play.
The kids laid on the hurt with a vengeance, with Terry logging his first triple-double of his career while ballooning the lead to 32 with six left in the game, an 18-0 run. The Knicks never threatened again, and Brad Stevens let the deep bench out to get some run, with the final score being 103-73.
The Celtics next face the Atlanta Hawks this Friday, February 2nd at 7:30 EST at home.

For more stories by Justin, click here.



Image: Def Pen Hoops/NBA
Follow Justin at @justinquinnn

Justin Quinn 1/31/2018 10:21:00 PM Edit
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