Knicks drop to Celtics, 104-108 in season opener
In a thrilling season opener at Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks faced off against the Boston Celtics, but it was the Celtics who secured the victory, closing the game with a 108-104 win.
The Knicks were led by a balanced scoring effort, with RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley each putting up 24 points. Barrett, shot 8-of-20 from the field, while Quickley, coming off the bench, was scorching hot from beyond the arc, making 5-of-7 three-point attempts, igniting the crowd at MSG.
The game remained close throughout, with Jalen Brunson‘s floating jump shot giving the Knicks a 101-95 lead with 3:39 left on the clock. It seemed like the Knicks might hold on for the win, especially after Quentin Grimes drained a deep three-pointer to provide the team with their largest lead of the night at 99-93 with 4:10 remaining.
However, the Celtics rallied, scoring nine straight points and completing a 13-3 run in the game’s closing minutes to snatch the win from the Knicks’ grasp. Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 34 points and 11 rebounds, while the former Knick, Kristaps Porzingis, made a remarkable debut for the Celtics with 30 points, 8 rebounds, and four blocked shots, including five three-pointers.
Porzingis’ performance set a record for the highest-scoring Celtics debut, leaving Knicks fans with mixed emotions. The game showcased the need for improvement on the defensive end for the Knicks, as the Celtics blocked 11 shots compared to the Knicks’ zero.
In the wake of a challenging defeat, the Knicks did find a few glimmers of hope, although some shortcomings remained glaring. The team displayed proficiency in three-point shooting, posting a respectable 43.9% from beyond the arc while converting 18 shots from long range.
However, Julius Randle‘s performance was a mixed bag, as he managed to contribute 14 points but struggled with his shooting accuracy, missing 17 of his 22 attempts. In addition, he secured 11 rebounds to secure a double-double, but his shot selection left room for improvement. Meanwhile, Quentin Grimes added 11 points to the scoreboard, yet it was evident that the Knicks will need to address certain offensive challenges moving forward.
Additionally, Donte DiVincenzo, acquired by the Knicks, played his first official game for the team but went scoreless in his 15 minutes off the bench.
Up-next: The Knicks (0-1) will take on the Hawks (0-1) in Atlanta on Friday night from 7:30 pm.