It’s hard to say the New York Knicks got their revenge on the Boston Celtics, but they certainly were happy with a third consecutive win and a comfortable one at that which enabled them to give Carmelo Anthony quite a lot of rest.
The Knicks beat the Celtics 114-88 to win for the third consecutive time and once again raise the expectation bar to a point where the playoffs don’t seem like an impossible dream to follow. Carmelo Anthony scored 24 points and added 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals on only 28 minutes of basketball in one of the easiest work days he’s had all season.
The long garbage time period (pretty much the entire second half after the Celtics scored 15 points in the first quarter and were down by 26 at the break) was good for Jeremy Tyler who scored 17 points while J.R. Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. combined to score 33 more points off the bench including five 3-pointers.
Maybe for some it was something of a payback after the Knicks lost at home by 41 points to the Celtics. Kenyon Martin, whose return (played for nine minutes) has a direct effect on the energy this team plays with, sure felt like this was something of a revenge game.
Today’s game in particular, it was kind of personal, you know what I’m saying, the way they beat us the last time we played them. So we wanted a little get-back.
The Celtics looked awful from the start, as Rajon Rondo couldn’t get his scoring going or anyone else’s. He finished with 3-of-13 from the field, scoring 7 points and adding 5 assists, playing for 27 minutes. The Celtics shot a terrible 39% from the field and turned the ball over 17 times, led by 14 points from Jeff Green in another game (there have been too many of them) that felt like an audition for players who are hoping to keep their job next season and resembled nothing from the earlier Celtics this season with good ball movement and disciplined defense.
One of the easiest things to do against the Celtics is dominate in the paint. Tyson Chandler scored 12 points and added 13 rebounds as the Knicks had 44 points in the paint while shooting 53.7% from the field. For a team that hardly runs and doesn’t move the ball all that well, it shows just how easy it was for them to face a broken down defense unit.
It was a good old-fashioned butt kicking. We didn’t take anything away tonight. We pretty much gave them everything they wanted. They took away stuff from us but we didn’t take anything away from those guys.
So where do these Knicks go? It’s hard to say; it’s all been about streaks, losing and winning, so far this season. Their energy levels seem to be the differentiating factor between good and bad, without talent having too much to do with it. That’s why it’s important for Martin and guys like Iman Shumpert to be involved and dominant; Carmelo Anthony is going to get his points, and others like Hardaway and Chandler aren’t going to show violent swings in their ability. Following the energy guys seems to be the key this season for an unpredictable team that can still make the playoffs in the weird Eastern conference.