From an outstanding win to the most embarrassing loss for years, the Celtics were demolished 105-75 at the hands of a very good performance from the lads in New York.
So what were the takeaways?
Ugly losses bring out the worst in fans
Fans are outraged, and rightly so, after that mess. The beauty about ugly wins is that they are bankable and forgettable, but it’s the complete opposite for the ugliest of losses.
Conspiracy theories and downright anarchy exploded over social media. There was the obvious criticism of the work ethic of the team for the laziness and worse shooting than “a blind man with a sniper rifle” according to one fan as well as the more outlandish claims of match fixing, befuddlement and bemusement.
Trade talks were at an all-time high, with fans wanting players like Grant Williams and Semi Ojeleye for “whoever will take them” and that maybe going after James Harden wouldn’t have been a bad idea (it would have been).
Celtics have the same needs they always have, and with the trade exception in their back pocket, are still 8-4 at the end of the day with a 66 per cent win rate. It’s not all bad, but it sure is today.
The ugliest game in a very long time
After dropping 36 on the Magic in the first quarter, Boston put together an abhorrent opening to this game. Kemba Walker was welcomed back with a rebound, two assists (both to Grant Williams) and a steal, which were great, but two turnovers cost the Celtics as the Knicks chucked 13 second-chance points to Boston’s 17 total points as an 11-point deficit was opened up.
The Celtics were out-rebounded by six, shot 3-11 from three (all made by Jaylen Brown), gave away six fouls and conceded four steals. From Grant Williams’s failed free throws to the shot clock violation with 1.4 seconds left, this was a quarter to forget.
Thoughts of a better second quarter were booming in Celtics’ minds, and it was – but it couldn’t have got worse. There was an extra point compared to the first quarter, but things kept going wrong – Jaylen Brown had three personal fouls at the half, it was Boston’s lowest half for the season by miles, the three-point shot had a 20 per cent conversion and the combined second-chance and fast-break points were 21-0!
The defence did get better, with the Knicks scoring only 20 points, but a 48-35 halftime scoreline was the epitome of ugly.
The third brought an 0-6 start in shooting before Marcus Smart hit a floater four minutes and eight seconds into the quarter. Defence picked up, highlighted by a Kemba steal and assist to Jaylen Brown, but a possession later he hit the deck hard with a hip injury in his 20th minute.
Every time a little win would come Boston’s way the Knicks would answer and then some followed by air ball after air ball.
Payton Pritchard opened some beautiful space for Marcus Smart but travelled, Julius Randle didn’t get a travel call and got a three-point play. Marcus Smart hit more shots after a whistle than anyone could in play and the Celtics shot 2-15 from deep in the quarter. Only the 14 points in the quarter to make the embarrassment absolute.
Jaylen Brown got a couple of bad calls in the last but was the best player on the night by far with his 25-6-3. Celtics scored 25 in the last and won the quarter but by then it was just junk time.
Stats laid bare
To ‘celebrate’ Kemba’s return, here are the eight stats that sum up just how bad this was.