The Boston Celtics came out aggressive tonight, looking to build an early lead. The Celtics had been prone to ugly first quarters and slow starts in recent games. Thomas, in particular, wanted to ensure that wouldn’t happen. Isaiah dominated and finished with 29 points in 27 minutes as the Celtics defeated the Knicks 115 to 87 at the Garden.
The Celtics held the Knicks to only 35% shooting from the field in this game.
Three-point defense had been a problem for the Celtics this season. However, that wasn’t the case tonight. The Knicks shot only 20% from behind the arc.
The Knicks were also forced into 25 turnovers. Impressive defensive performance all the way around.
Celtics Attacked the Paint
The Celtics attacked the paint tonight, and were rewarded with
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43 free throws. It seemed every time they forced a turnover, they pushed the ball hard and all the way to the cup.
This also helped them from behind the arc. Most of the Celtics three- pointers the Celtics were a result of inside-out basketball.
When you can shoot 34-43 from the free-throw line, and hit 40% of your 3’s, you have a great chance of winning the game.
Isaiah Dominated the Knicks from the Tip
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Isaiah Thomas clearly didn’t want another slow start. He played the point guard early in most Celtics games this year, looking to pass and get teammates involved.
However, tonight Isaiah was aggressive early. Driving to the rim, getting to the line, and looking for his shot. Isaiah dominated the Knicks’ defense at every opportunity.
Isaiah scored 29 points on 9-16 shooting in this one. He’s now averaging over 26 PPG for the season. That puts him in the top 10 in the NBA.
Change in Starting Lineup Produced Results
Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk both made a positive impact in the game.
Smart made a huge contribution on defensive, producing a 12-point, six -ebound, eight-assist stat line. Olynyk finished with 17 points on 5-9 shooting, as well as six rebounds and three assists.
Brad Stevens mentioned that the pair were his best defenders in the loss to the Wizards. So it shouldn’t have been a surprise that he placed them into the starting lineup.
Both ends of the floor were well covered in this one.