Down two starters and trailing by nine points late in the first quarter could have caused panic on the Knicks sideline. Instead, New York answered the call in a major way. The Knicks trimmed the Celtics advantage from nine to three by the end of the first period before exploding in the second quarter. By outscoring Boston 32-20 in the second frame, New York built a 63-54 advantage heading into the half. An unexpected group took control in that crucial quarter, which featured: Brandon Jennings, Courtney Lee, Justin Holiday, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, and Willy Hernangomez. Aside from Kuzminskas, this was the second unit as head coach Jeff Hornacek decided to start Derrick Rose, Ron Baker, Carmelo Anthony, and Kyle O’Quinn. The five-man squad unleashed a 16-5 run to completely tilt the momentum towards the road team in the first half.
Boston also played shorthanded as Avery Bradley missed the game with a sore Achilles. With Joakim Noah, Kristaps Porzingis, and Lance Thomas sidelined, Rose elevated his offensive game, finishing with a team-high 30 points. Kuzminskas and Hernangomez combined for 34 points, providing the necessary firepower when the starters returned to the bench and New York closed the show in an impressive 117-106 win.
Knick of the Night:
Rose was electrifying in tonight’s win as he tied a season-high with 30 points on 13-of-24 shooting from the floor, snatched 10 boards, dished five assists, and recorded two steals.
Kuzminskas was all over the floor in the Wednesday night road game. The rookie played 28 minutes, scored 17 points and grabbed six boards. Hernangomez made the most of his minutes with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
News and Notes:
Once again, Porzingis warmed up during the team’s shootaround in Boston and pregame but a pinch in his ankle is keeping him off the floor. Porzingis missed his fourth straight contest as all parties involved are remaining cautious in an attempt to not rush his return. Noah could not suit up due to a sore ankle and will undergo an MRI tomorrow back in New York. Lance Thomas did not dress for the contest as he needs to be fitted for a face mask following an orbital fracture injury. Hornacek told the media on Wednesday morning that Thomas will need some practice time to adjust to the mask before jumping back on the floor in game action.
New York settled in to a solid defensive performance against a surging Celtics squad. After allowing 34 in the first quarter, Boston was held to 20, 29, and 23 in the next three periods. The Celtics only shot 38.5 percent from the floor and just 27.3 percent behind the arc. New York also won the batltle of second chance points, 24-12.
The Knicks will head back to New York following the game in Boston and face another quick turnaround with the Wizards traveling to MSG on Thursday. The second of the back-to-back will tipoff at 8 PM, exclusively on TNT.
by Jonah Ballow