Boston Celtics 97 (28-22)
New York Knicks 89 (23-28)
NBA, Final Game Box Score
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
The New York Knicks opened the game on a 9-0 run with seven points from the ice cold Arron Afflalo. After taking three minutes to score their first points, the Boston Celtics countered with a 9-0 run of their own. The early scoring barrages were certainly not a sign of things to come as it was a defensive contest throughout, with the Celtics prevailing, 97-89.
The last meeting between the two teams went against the Celtics — a 120-114 Knicks victory — this game was right up their alley. A true knockdown fight, that was chippy right from the beginning with Carmelo Anthony picking up a terrible flagrant foul call after elbowing notoriously tough defender, Jae Crowder. As Alan Hahn pointed on out on Twitter, the foul call gave precedent to Crowder and other Celtics that they could be rough with Anthony all game long.
Crowder and the Celtics are literally beating Melo up. Even when he's on defense. It's so obvious what the game plan is here.
— Alan Hahn (@alanhahn) February 3, 2016
As Anthony understandably struggled to a 4-16 shooting night, he was once again able to contribute in different ways with 14 rebounds and his passing was again on point as he dished out four assists. In fact, the argument can be made that Anthony was the Knicks’ best passer on the floor when needed. As much as the Knicks’ All-Star struggled shooting, it was the Celtics’ All-Star who again stepped up at the Garden.
Isaiah Thomas was recently elected an All-Star for the first time and is definitely deserving. In the last game against New York he lit them up for 34 points; in Tuesday’s victory he was good for 20 points and 8 dimes respectively. Once again he made all the plays down the stretch for his team because the Knicks couldn’t keep him out of the paint.
Boston had 58 points in the paint, compared to New York’s 28, while the Knick’s held a slight rebounding advantage of 50-45. It’s unfortunate that the gap was that close, however, because at one point they led 42-26. It really showed how the Celtics just shut them down completely at the end of the game.
It continued an unfortunate trend for the Knicks of being outplayed at the end of the game. It’s hard to tell if that is coaching, the frequent odd lineup choices, or the players; but tonight things just looked ridiculous when New York abandoned their offense with two minutes left in favor of Kristaps Porzingis and Anthony launching three-point shots. We all remember what Kobe Bryant told Spike Lee about the infamous New York Knicks’ triangle. It hasn’t looked like he was wrong.