New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics
Game 30: December 25, 2016
Celtics 119, Knicks 114
A blue, blue Knicksmas:
After being left off the Christmas Day slate last season, the Knicks took on the Boston Celtics at MSG for a Christmas matinee. The Knicks hung around with the Celtics all game, even tying the game with under 3 minutes to go, but ultimately fell to the green and white, 119-114. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 29 points, but struggled shooting, going 9-24 from the field. Derrick Rose had 25 points, and Kristaps Porzingis scored 21. Isaiah Thomas, who in my opinion is one of the most fun players to watch in the NBA, paced Boston with 27 points and gave the Knicks fits all afternoon.
Takeaways from this game
Way too much isolation:
We’ve seen this movie before. In previous years, when the Knicks would fall behind they would go too often to the Iso-Melo offense, and it would often lead to stagnant offensive sets. So far this season, the Knicks have done the opposite and would push the ball in transition and move the ball in the half-court sets. New York went back to old habits this afternoon, as it was a lot of one on one with Carmelo, KP, or Rose trying to take their defenders alone. When the ball moves, the Knicks win, and that isn’t breaking news. There were a few plays where multiple passes led to open three pointers for Courtney Lee and Justin Holiday, which are high percentage shots for those guys. Ball movement and open threes are what most teams in the NBA are looking for now, and it should be the same for the Knicks. 11 assists on 41 made baskets is nowhere near good enough for a team to win in the NBA, and we saw that it wasn’t enough today.
Defense, or a lack thereof:
Another game, another team who scores 115+ against the New York Knicks. The Knicks are once again leaving shooters open and aren’t hustling to close out on them. If they’re going to leave shooters open, and also not close out the lane for driving guards like Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart (who I hate), then they are going to have a lot more long days and nights on defense. Guys like Lee, Holiday, and Lance Thomas, to a lesser extent, do a decent job keeping opposing players out of the lane, but the other guys on the floor have to make it easier for Porzingis, Noah, and the rest of the Knicks big men.
This one isn’t about today’s game, but I just wanted to take the time to say thank you to Marc and Jay for giving me the opportunity to write these recaps for the New York Knicks Podcast.
It’s been a pleasure to write for these guys, and I appreciate everyone who has been reading them, as well as those who have been giving feedback on the website and on the FaceBook page. I’d also like to the wish all the readers a happy and healthy holidays, and let’s go Knicks.
Knicks and Hawks in Atlanta, Wednesday at 7:30. 16-14.