Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combine for 56 as Knicks fall to Celtics
It was raining 3-pointers from Boston to MSG.
With Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leading the firing squad, the Celtics dumped a franchise-record 27 treys in Saturday night’s 133-118 win over the powerless Knicks.
He was just two points off the NBA record for 3-pointers – set by the Bucks in 2020 – and also set the Knicks’ record for most 3-pointers ever allowed.
RJ Barrett, who was tasked with guarding Tatum and Brown, could only surrender during his post-game interview.
“That’s a lot of threes. Sometimes a team gets hot,” Barrett said. “Hard to beat 27 threes, but we fought all the way through. There’s nothing we can do about it.
Coach Tom Thibodeau, however, noticed a lax defense.
“It was probably a compilation of things. Some are in transition, not identifying that you have to protect the basket first, but you also have to mark the shooters,” Thibodeau said. “Who’s on the ground? Who are they looking for? Who is the most dangerous man? You have to be there on the take. Remove airspace. Have them put it on the floor. Some of them were small-small, pick-and-roll. If you don’t communicate, they will charge you.
The Knicks (4-5), who have lost four of their last five games, have paid dearly.
Tatum and Brown each connected on six treys, combining for 56 points. The Celtics (6-3), among the favorites to emerge from the East, shot 27 for 51 (53%) from beyond the arc. The Knicks played well offensively but couldn’t keep up.
“They’re a tough team to keep,” Julius Randle said. “A lot of movement”
The Knicks cut the deficit to 5 with about four minutes remaining, but Tatum’s 3-pointer 30 seconds later essentially sealed the win.
Randle finished with a season-high 29 points. RJ Barrett and Jalen Brunson added 27 and 22 points respectively.
“I don’t want to apologize because we have to play better, said Thibodeau, and as I told the team, we’re going to watch the film and we’re going to make our corrections. But tonight I think we had the best defensive field goal percentage in the NBA, we were third in defending the 3. So tonight we didn’t defend it well. Some of the mistakes we made are very correctable, so all we need to do is come back with more determination to fix them and stick together and work on them.
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It was a fast, high-octane offensive first half. The Knicks trailed up to 14, but found a niche late in the second quarter and cut the deficit to 1 at the break.
There were two new starters in Thibodeau’s roster. At small forward, Cam Reddish replaced Quentin Grimes, who was again held off with foot pain. Isaiah Hartenstein was the starting center because Mitchell Robinson had sprained his knee the previous night in Philadelphia.
The Celtics have also been shorthanded, especially at center, where Blake Griffin started on Saturday.
It was another opportunity for the Knicks to deploy a Randle-Toppin frontcourt, a setup that worked so well in Philadelphia. Thibodeau gave him a few looks but nothing could fight the Boston snipers.
“Obviously the pace of the game is a lot faster with them in the lineup, so that’s a big plus,” Thibodeau said. “I want to see the movie. I just didn’t think our defense with this group was what it needed to be. But I love this. I like what it gives us. »
Apparently, everything fell to MSG. Shawn McDonald, a young New Jersey Knicks fan wearing a John Starks jersey on Friday night, hit a half-court shot during a break to win a KIA car.
He celebrated by hugging Julius Randle and bumping RJ Barrett on the shoulder. It was a much better prize than the $1,000 lotto scratch the Knicks gave to a fan after he landed a half-court shot in 2020.