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Celtics 115, Knicks 87: ‘Blame Robert Randolph’

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The Knicks lost a ridiculously sloppy game.

NBA: New York Knicks at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

There is no grand conspiracy against the New York Knicks. Yes, the boys in orange and blue often get outscored from the free-throw line, but there is a perfectly logical explanation for that. They have long been a primarily jump-shooting team that plays a sloppy, foul-prone brand of defense — taken together, the worst combination possible for assuring dominance at the charity stripe. The refs are not colluding with the league office, or the RAND Corporation, or the reverse-vampires.

That being said ... man, this game. The Knicks lost to the hated Boston Celtics, 115-87, in one of the worst officiated games I’ve seen in a while. The Green Booger Monsters play a rough style of ball — bumping and grinding and humping and elbowing. They never miss a trick. And they quickly got inside the Knicks’ heads to varying degrees. The refs didn’t help matters at all, calling an inconsistent game and tossing Carmelo Anthony in the second quarter. All told, the Knicks were charged with six technical fouls.

Everyone involved was quite peeved with ref Tony Brothers, no one more so than Melo’s wife, La La. Preach, girl.

That was quite cathartic. Now on to the notes!

  • The final numbers — 8 points, 12 rebounds — do little justice to how great Willy Hernangomez performed, particularly in the first half. Willy the Kid helped New York mount a second-quarter charge after the starters had stake Boston to a big early lead. He really was the total package: taking fools off the dribble, passing with panache, dominating the offensive glass, contesting shots, jumping the passing lanes.

As I’m sure y’all have noticed by now, I don’t know much about the game of basketball. But I was not alone in fearing that Willy would be overwhelmed this season on the defensive end. That simply hasn’t happened yet. He has kept himself in good positions on D, and has used his excellent hands to disrupt interior passes. On the other side of the court, he’s developing great chemistry with the likes of Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Justin Holiday.

  • I was really hoping that Kristaps Porzingis was going to take over the game after Melo was tossed. That just didn’t happen. Kid isn’t ready to take over games at will. Credit Boston for playing him close. Kristaps tried to get inside, but the results were decidedly mixed — a couple nice 10-foot jumpers early, followed by a rash of awkward runners. The perimeter is where Kristaps has really feasted this season, but the Knicks’ point guards fell back into the ugly habit of forgetting he existed unless he was posting up directly in front of him. When the Unicorn sets a pick, you might want to look for him in space ... it’s literally the best play the Knicks have this season.
  • Derrick Rose stunk up the joint. I don’t mind seven turnovers if they come sprinkled around some fine point guarding, but half of Rose’s cough-ups were the result of Celtics just snatching the ball out of his hands when he wasn’t paying attention. His defense was abominable from tip-off, and by the fourth quarter he was jacking up shots like a poor man’s J.R. Smith. Most Knicks were far too riled up in this game; Rose played like he had an early dinner reservation. As embarrassing as the Knicks looked by the end of the night, Rose’s apathy was the worst look of all.
  • Dear Brandon Jennings,

When you shoot a basketball, at least try to focus on putting it in the basket. I’ve never seen a player less interested in connecting on his own field goal attempts. Oh, and he was ejected too.

  • Justin Holiday is shooting 41.2% on threes and 32.0% on twos. That’s weird, yo. But that kid closes out on shooters like a bolt of lightning. I hope he figures out the inside game, because he is currently their best perimeter defender.
  • Marcus Smart sucks. Jaylen Brown is the next Marcus Smart, which means he also sucks.
  • Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck was seen cheering Melo’s ejection, per Marc Berman. In other news, Wyc Grousbeck is a character from a 11-year-old’s Star Wars fan fiction.

In the end, I agree with P&T’er Willy Hernangorgeous Stole My Heart: When shit like this happens on a Friday night, Robert Randolph is always to blame. New York plays the second night of a back-to-back Saturday in Toronto against a far superior Raptors squad. At least Melo is rested.