Knicks open season with 138-134 2OT win against the Boston Celtics
The 75th NBA season had the two original franchises play against each other in their opener and what a show they provided! In a bucket thriller that summed 272 points, the New York Knicks defeated the Boston Celtics 138-134 in double overtime at Madison Square Garden.
It was quite a balanced game with rare double digit leads. The first one was built by the Celtics in the second quarter when they went up 50-38 but the Knicks needed less than three minutes to cut it to single digits just to continue a 14-0 run that put them back on top. Later in the fourth it was the Knicks who led by 10 for a short amount of time after a layup by Obi Toppin off Evan Fournier‘s assist.
The Knicks could have take the win in regulation but their defense went down in the closing minutes and the dagger was drilled by Marcus Morris’ 3 point buzzer beater, left completely undefended by Kemba Walker who got caught off-guard between two opponents.
And it went on for two overtime periods before the Knicks finally closed it with seconds left on the clock and secured their first win.
Julius Randle led the Knicks with 35 points 9 assists, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. He gave his team a 3 point lead with under 5 seconds on the clock in regulation after making a couple of free pointers that could have ended the game right there. He fought hard in extra time and although he missed a long three at the end of the first period he played a key role in the second, where he completed a three point play for a two point lead.
Fournier was probably the best surprise. He scored 32 points with 12 of them in OT and carried the team on his back with his incredible three pointers that came at the right time. He made six three pointers with four of them in extra time. His clutch shot came with 56 seconds left to play, a 26-foot three point jumper off Derrick Rose‘s assist that gave the Knicks the lead for good.
RJ Barrett finished with 19 points on a 6-11 shooting with a terrific third quarter after going scoreless in the first half and great defense on Cetlics’ Jason Tatum who, in spite of scoring 20, shot 7-30 from the field including 2-15 from long distance.
“That’s why i’m here for. I always wanted to be a two-way player so i’ll be doing that guarding everyone every single game, trying to prove that i could be that player for this team.”
– RJ Barrett
Obi Toppin led the bench with 14 points and electrified the crowd with the strong finishers while Mitchell Robinson who got to start had a game high 17 rebounds to go with his 11 points.
Walker got huge ovations at introduction and every possession. Unfortunately it wasn’t the debut he’d expected, scored just 10, grabbed 8 boards against his former team and finished the game on the bench. He committed a key turnover right before advancing the ball with 22.2 on the clock which forced a team foul by the Knicks, who were up 112-108. That allowed the Celtics to get back in the game and tie it just as time expired.
The Celtics were led by Jaylen Brown who scored a game high 46 points, shooting 8-14 from behind the arc. He was difficult to contain and was the main threat for the Knicks. He had 36 buckets at the end of the fourth, already the most points ever scored by a Celtic in an opener. Marcus Smart and Grant Williams combined 30 points (15 each) and Robert Williams scored 16 shooting a perfect 5-5 from the field.
Overall, both teams logged incredible close numbers. In terms of turnovers Boston had 18 and New York 19. In terms of rebounds Boston once again had the slight advantage with 56 to NY’s 55. Very close at shooting the three, this time with the home team being 1% over of the visitors (37.8 v 36.8). The difference was made however in the paint where the Knicks outscored Celtics 60-42.
Up-next: The Knicks (1-0) will travel to Orlando to take on the Magic (0-1) on Friday night from 7:30 pm.