RJ Barrett Knicks
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks had no luck Saturday whereas the Boston Celtics had all of it.

There is literally no excuse for any basketball team, particularly in this day and age, to score 75 points in a game.

That didn’t stop the New York Knicks from the complete and utter clunker that was Saturday’s 99-75 loss to the Boston Celtics. This stung more not just because of the lackadaisical performance on New York’s end, but because it’s the Celtics and RJ Barrett’s heroics sealed a win against them at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

The loss dropped the Knicks to 19-21 in what’s been a horribly frustrating year, and this was just another underperformance amongst a litany of others.

Except last night’s loss was for several reasons, one of which no team can beat.

In this case, not even the New York Knicks were immune to bad luck.


Good looks, no conversion

Remember, the Knicks had a strong first quarter and led the Celtics 26-21 after the first frame. The rest of the way, they never scored more than 18 points in a quarter while Boston’s offense was in perfect sync. Hell, they might as well have been playing on Rookie mode in NBA 2K.

But how quickly we forget that for those final three quarters, it’s not as though the New York Knicks were getting bad looks. Shooting 36.7% from the field, 35.5% from three and 40% from the foul line might suggest otherwise, but the Knicks had plenty of open looks. The problem is no matter how open a player is or how good the shot is by itself, it means nothing if that ball doesn’t swish through the net.

The Celtics, meanwhile, shot 47.4% as a unit, including 41.4% from long range. Throw in the revenge angle, and of course they were extra motivated to play well.

Yet, considering the New York Knicks rank 26th in the league in team field goal percentage, last night looked like just another flat loss despite literally nothing going right.


The Knicks were shorthanded too

Not to mention, the New York Knicks had almost no help off of the bench on Saturday. Evan Fournier, who turned in a career-high 41 points against Boston on Thursday, sat out with a thigh contusion. This thrust Immanuel Quickley into the starting lineup. Though he scored 18 points, the lack of help in the second unit was obvious.

Not to mention, Derrick Rose is still recovering from ankle surgery and Nerlens Noel is getting his conditioning up after a lengthy stay in the helath and safety protocols. Imagine if Noel’s length was available to combat Robert Williams on Saturday. It wouldn’t fix the Knicks’ offense, but the extra defense might have kept everyone motivated.

But with a short roster and limited scoring help in a guard-oriented NBA, a team might as well be sunk. In the case of the New York Knicks’ case, their hopes sunk in Boston Harbor once the first quarter ended.


The final point

All this to say, this loss only looks as bad as it does because it happened right after the Knicks came back from 25 down to beat Boston. Three of their next four games are at home and against teams who have also struggled with consistency.

Based on the overall energy of the team alone, especially this past week, don’t resign yourselves to the draft lottery just yet.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.