The Boston Celtics were looking to build off their strong pre-season play against a much improved New York Knicks team at Madison Square Garden, but turnovers and ill-advised shots saw the C's lose 101-95. Even with Jae Crowder and Amir Johnson resting in the second half, the Celtics were able to hang around, but the Knicks were led by Derrick Williams (19 points) and Kyle O'Quinn (13 points, 11 rebounds).
It wasn't a pretty game. In fact, things started to get a bit chippy. O'Quinn was assessed with a flagarant-1 foul on Jared Sullinger for bringing his arm down after Sully was going for a layup. Moments later, Jonas Jerebko and Cleanthony Early were exchanging words and it was a reminder to the fans that, even though it's only a preseason game, these two teams show a strong hate towards each other which makes it an enjoyable rivalry.
The Knicks were efficient from three-point land, connecting on 48 percent (12-25) and the C's also connected on an efficient clip, converting on 40 percent (8-20) of their threes. However, both teams struggled from the field as the Celtics only connected on 39.8 percent of their shots, and the Knicks were slightly worse at 37 percent.
Isaiah Thomas (13 points, five assists), Tyler Zeller (12 points, four rebounds) and Evan Turner (11 points, four rebounds, three assists) were the only regulars to reach double figures. James Young didn't play until the second half but nailed a couple of threes, drew a couple of free throws, and ended up scoring 10 points on four field goal attempts.
Jared Sullinger was still the last big in the rotation, coming into the game at the start of the second quarter. And to make matters worse, he shot a putrid 1 of 8 from the field and still doesn't look like a good fit for Brad Stevens' pace-and-space offense. Although Sully has a lot of talent, he isn't making Stevens' job very difficult as to which four bigs will play each night.
R.J. Hunter is showing tremendous growth thus far in preseason with his ability to pick and choose his spots. He really does have a good feel for the game, and even though he didn't shoot the ball well (2-7 shooting), he displayed great instincts on the defensive end, and it looks like he can get some regular minutes once the season starts.
Perry Jones did not get in the game, which could be a bad sign for his hopes of making the team. The other healthy scratch was training camp invitee Malcolm Miller.
The Knicks were very physical throughout the game, and it resulted in them pounding the glass as they were able to get 18 offensive rebounds compared to Boston's 11.
Brad Stevens will certainly have film ready for his team to learn off their ugly loss, but the positive thing is that it's only preseason where various combinations are played together to see if it can work once the games truly count.
The C's will have practice tomorrow and will get ready to take on the Brooklyn Nets next Monday night.