June 17, 2024

The Celtics extended their winning streak to eight games on Saturday night with a dominant offensive effort in a 116-102 victory over the Knicks. Boston shot 68 percent from the field over the first three quarters, which helped them pull away from an undermanned Knicks team missing three starters in the frontcourt. Jaylen Brown (30 points) led six different Celtics to finish in double figures during the victory as Boston shot 57.5 percent from the field and 43 percent from 3-point range in their eighth straight road win. Kristaps Porzingis also added 22 points against his former team.

Jalen Brunson finished with a game-high 34 points for the hosts, but he did not get much help from his supporting cast, as no other player on the Knicks scored more than 16 points. Boston’s victory improves their record against the Knicks this year to 4-0 with one game remaining.

NBA-leading Celtics cruise to 8th straight win with 116-102 victory over Knicks | WNCT

The win improved Boston to 24-5 on the year when the team’s full starting five is active. The Celtics now return home for a three-game homestand beginning on Tuesday night against the Philadelphia 76er

Here are four takeaways from the Celtics’ win on Saturday night

Celtics feast inside the paint in the first half: The Celtics were facing a shorthanded Knicks frontcourt, missing their starting frontline due to injury, and it showed defensively from the onset. Boston feasted in the paint with their size advantage and a lack of rim protection for the hosts, shooting a whopping 80 percent from 2-point range (20-of-25) and 66 percent from the field. Boston held a 36-22 edge on points in the paint but saw their 3-point attempts reduced (14) as the Knicks opted to try to take away the 3-point line. Jaylen Brown led the way on this front with 20 points in the first half, including a 7-of-8 showing from 2-point range. Kristaps Porzingis was the only active Celtics player who did not shoot 50 percent or better from the field.

Rebounding effort lacking: The Knicks may have had a size disadvantage, but they tried to make up for it with their effort on the glass. The host piled up seven offensive rebounds in the first half alone, which led to nine second chance points, a huge total in a game where the Knicks were already shooting 51 percent from the field in the first half. Precious Achiwua and Isaiah Hartenstein led the way for the Knicks on this front, but the New York wings also outworked Boston’s starters, helping the Knicks stay in the game despite allowing 66 percent shooting in the first half.

Celtics cruise to eighth straight win with 116-102 victory over Knicks - NBC Sports

3-point barrage in third quarter: It’s hard to imagine a team improving upon shooting 66 percent from the field in the first half, but the Celtics somehow pulled it off in the third period on Saturday night. Boston made nine of their first 11 3-point attempts in the period as they picked apart a Knicks defense that resorted to double-teaming Jayson Tatum on multiple possessions. Six different Celtics hit a 3 in the period, helping Boston shoot 72 percent in the frame and break open a six-point game at halftime.

Al Horford steps up in the fourth quarter: The Knicks still managed to make things interesting early in the fourth quarter, trimming Boston’s 20-point lead to nine after a rare shooting slump from the visitors. From there, Horford delivered some bully ball, coming up big in the post and the offensive glass on multiple possessions amid a 10-0 Celtics run to put away the Knicks for good. The veteran big man has been an offensive afterthought amid the Celtics’ firepower in the starting five, but the 37-year-old showed he could still feast on weak defenders when given the chance on a big stage.

 

 

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