What can Irving and Brown do for you? Celtics top Knicks, 121-112
Fresh off a relatively dominant victory last night in Detroit, the Boston Celtics took the two hour trek to New York to face off against the Knicks tonight in Madison Square Garden.
Fun fact: the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks are the only two teams left in the NBA that still reside in their original city -- since the inception of the NBA in 1946.
The Knicks got on the scoreboard first, thanks to a nice drive by veteran Courtney Lee.Jaylen Brown attempted a quick response, but his acrobatic layup attempt wasn't acrobatic enough. Daniel Theis, fresh off a 19 point effort last night, was there for the cleanup.
The Celtics started the game 3/11, but still managed to be up 9-7 in the early frame, mainly due to their defensive intensity. That intensity continued, and finally shots started to fall. With 5:07 left in the first, Knicks' head coach Jeff Hornacek called for time, hoping to put an end to the Celtics balanced attack that garnered a 13-2 run and 17-9 lead.
Tim Hardaway Jr. helped the Knicks respond straight out of the timeout, but he quickly rode the pine due to a couple quick fouls. It's OK, Timmy, we know Kyrie isn't human.
Second year stud Jaylen Brown kept the Celtics ahead, first with a strong baseline dunk, followed by a powerful, muscle-flexing and-1 move against Enes Kanter.
Then, Kyrie and Jaylen went to the bench and, as it seemed, so too did our defense, as evidenced by Trey Burke having his way in the final minute of the quarter, dropping 7 quick points in the final 57-seconds.
END OF THE FIRST: Boston 23, Knicks 24
The second quarter started the way the first ended, with Burke leading the Knicks to a 38-30 lead. Kyrie and Tatum answered with a pair of back-to-back, beautifully-jaw dropping and-1 finishes, followed by five quick points by Rozier to give the Cs a 13-2 run to go up 43-40.
Led by 13 points from Uncle Drew and another 10 from Jaylen, the Celtics went into the locker room up three. Trey Burke led the Knicks with 15 off the bench.
END OF THE SECOND: Boston 59, Knicks 56
The Celtics started the second half on a 10-2 run, led by a couple triples by Big Al Horford and the shake-and-bake showmanship of -- guess who? -- Kyrie Irving whose back-to-back triples gave the Celtics their biggest lead of the game -- 81-71 with about four minutes left in the third.
Kyrie Irving was 5/6 FG and 4/4 from downtown in the third.
END OF THE THIRD: Boston 88, Knicks 81
This back-and-forth battle with the Knicks continued in the final frame. Burke continued his efforts and the Celtics got sloppy. With 8:38 to go, the Celtics lead of ten points was now down to a deuce. But whatever Coach Stevens told the good-guys-in-green (or gray for this evening) worked. The Celtics, despite turning the ball over directly after that timeout, took care of the glass and continued their strong scoring efforts, increasing their lead back to seven points with roughly five-and-a-half minutes to go.
That trend (thankfully) continued as Kyrie and Jaylen proved to be too much for the Knicks, closing out the home team for their second victory in as many nights.
"Uncle Drew" may be coming out in theaters soon, but Kyrie Irving made everyone grab their popcorn early tonight against the Knicks, coming just one rebound and two assists away from a triple double. He finished the night with 31 points 9 rebounds and 8 assists on 11/22 from the field and 6/12 from downtown.
Jaylen Brown wasn't far behind, racking up 24 points on 10/17 from the field and 2/5 from three.
Al Horford was Al Horford, quietly notching a 13 point 10 rebound effort.
Marcus Smart was a welcoming sight once again. Hounding anyone in a home jersey with his calling card straight-jacket style defense, he also added 11 points and 5 assists to go with his 3 steals, two of which led to breakaway layups.
Aron Baynes was a pre-game scratch, dealing with an injured elbow suffered last night when he inadvertently ran into Jaylen on a screen.
"Scary" Terry Rozier III added 14 points and rookie Jayson Tatum added 11.
Shane Larkin made his first appearance since our late January matchup vs. Golden State. While he was scoreless, seeing his ball pressure efforts on defense was, much like Marcus Smart, a welcoming sight.
Trey Burke led the Knicks with 26 points off the bench.
The Boston Celtics (42-19) will face off against the kind-of-openly-tanking Memphis Grizzlies on Monday in Boston.