Celtics snap three-game losing streak, blow out Knicks 115-87

In a game that featured two ejection, six technical fouls, lots of offensive rebounds and Gino Time, the Boston Celtics prevailed against the New York Knicks, 115-87. What started off as a strongly contested game grew more and more into a blowout as the night went on.

After losing three straight games the Celtics, despite still missing Jae Crowder and Al Horford, looked more like the team we thought they would be this season behind a strong defensive showing and high-scoring offense.

The Celtics got off to a strong start, hitting their first four shots, including two back-to-back three-pointers by Marcus Smart. After allowing 34 points in the first quarter in Washington, the C's limited the Knicks to 27 with some good defense.

Smart and Avery Bradley, who had two steals in the first quarter, had especially strong efforts defensively and Boston would end the quarter with five forced turnovers. Although their defense was solid, the offense surged and would go on to flatline a bit. Jumping out to a 21-10 lead with 6:09 to go, the Celtics would be held to 9 points over the remainder of the quarter. Isaiah Thomas led the C's with 11 points and rookie Jaylen Brown had this nice play:

In the second quarter there was a particularly nasty sequence that prompted boo's throughout TD Garden. After a missed Justin Holiday three-pointer the Knicks would collect seven offensive rebounds in 22 seconds. If you didn't cringe reading that, here's are the play-by-play notes of the sequence:

A very common theme this season has been how bad the C's are on the boards and this game did nothing to change that narrative. At the 4:44 mark in the second quarter Boston was being out rebounded 28-17.

Things got weird at that same point in the game when Carmelo Anthony received two quick technicals fouls after arguing a foul call and was tossed from the game. He may have had a valid argument as, at that point, the Celtics had attempted 23 free throws, the Knicks had only attempted three.

Taking full advantage of the free-throw discrepancy and 'Melo being out of the game, Boston jumped out to a 61-51 lead to end the half, with Isaiah Thomas leading all scorers with 23 points. The bench was a sore spot, scoring only 9 points to the Knicks 19.

A nice sequence in the third quarter summarized the type of night the Knicks were having: After a jump ball call where Avery Bradley appeared to be out of bounds, Kristaps Porzingis inadvertently tipped the ball on the jump to Marcus Smart who then passed it to an open Kelly Olynyk for a three-pointer to put Boston up 68-55.

One thing to note, Jokiam Noah plays like a guy who you'd love to have on your team but hate to play against. He has mentioned that KG was his favorite player growing up, only to have KG dismiss him once he played against him in the NBA, so it isn't surprising to see him play as scrappily as he does. Midway through the third, a batted ball was about to fall out of bounds but Noah chased the ball down, swatted it back in with his back to the court, leading to a foul on Porzingis.

But on this night, for every scrappy play by the Knicks, the Celtics had an answer and would keep New York at a comfortable distance throughout the third quarter. What stood out the most, however, was the play of Marcus Smart.

He again, proved to Boston why he is, hopefully, going to be a cornerstone of the Celtics franchise going forward with his maximum effort play, even if it doesn't always result in points. Led by Smart's strong play, the C's would end the third quarter with a solid 86-73 lead.

With Rozier, Zeller and Brown in the game to start the fourth, the C's would essentially go on cruise control for the rest of the game. Brandon Jennings would get ejected from the game with 3:20 to go after slamming the ball onto the court. A Jordan Mickey layup would put the C's up 112-83 with 1:58 to go in the game.

Isaiah Thomas led all scorers with 29 points and Marcus Smart chipped in 10 assists along with 12 points. Mr. Consistency, Avery Bradley, had yet another double double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Photo credit: Elise Amendola/AP
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