The New York Knicks tipped off their season on Tuesday night against the Boston Celtics in Madison Square Garden. It was a tightly contested contest that ultimately saw the Knicks fall short by a score of 108-104.
Boston jumped out to a 30-18 first-quarter lead thanks to a familiar face. Kristaps Porzingis, the Knick's former fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft, came out scorching. Hitting: 5-of-8 field goal attempts, including 3-of-5 from downtown, KP scored 15 points in 11 first-quarter minutes. Porzingis would have a fantastic Celtics debut, scoring 30 points with five three-pointers and four blocks in 37 minutes. The 30 points were the most ever in a Boston Celtics debut.
KP hit the big three to give Boston a lead they wouldn't lose late in the game:
He would also hit clutch free throws (trigger word) to put Boston up 106-102 with 29 seconds left.
Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum had himself a night. The 25-year-old, entering his seventh season with the Celtics, had 34 points and 11 rebounds in 38 minutes to lead Boston in both categories. The four-time All-Star is primed for another huge season. Derrick White (12), Jaylen Brown (11), and Jrue Holiday (9) only combined to score 32 points, but Tatum and Porzingis were able to carry them.
For the Knicks, Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett scored 24 apiece to lead the team. Quickley was amazing, hitting 7-of-11 shot field goal attempts, 5-of-7 three-point attempts, and 5-of-6 free throws. Barrett took a few more shots to get there. RJ hit 8-of-20 attempts and was 2-of-5 from three. His 6-of-7 at the line was encouraging, and he finished with a team-high +6. in plus-minus.
The first game of the Immanuel Quickley 6MOTY run:— Teg (@IQfor3) October 26, 2023
5-7 3P pic.twitter.com/Jp9dR5PHpi
New York really needed those two to step up when their best players stepped down. Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle will want to burn the tape from this game. The two combined to score 29 on 11-of-43 shooting. Randle was a team-low -13, while Brunson was closely behind at -9. Aside from the poor shooting, Randle had 11 rebounds and seven assists. Brunson picked up six helpers, and the Knicks out-assisted Boston 24-18. This is a theme that would be great to see continue this season.
Hawks lose opener:
The Atlanta Hawks opened their season in Charlotte to take on the Hornets. Trae Young’s 23 points and nine assists were not enough to pick up the win in the opener. The always-solid Clint Capela had 15 points and 13 rebounds, and 21-year-old Jalen Johnson came off the bench to score his age in 29 minutes.
Poor shooting did the Hawks in, as they shot 39-of-93 (42%) from the floor, including 5-of-29 (17%) from three.
Charlotte was led by P.J. Washington and Terry Rozier, who scored 25 and 24 points, respectively.
Terry Rozier would hit the dagger with 22 seconds left, sending the fans home happy:
Down to the ATL:
The Knicks and Hawks split their four matchups in the 2022-23 season. They each won one game at home and on the road. Their most recent matchup was on February 15th in Atlanta. Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle had big games, and the Knicks were able to ride a hot first quarter to a convincing 122-101 victory on the road. This improved the Knicks’s record to 33-27, while Atlanta fell one game under .500 at 29-30.
Julius Randle feasted against the Hawks last season. He scored at least 25 points in three of the four games and averaged 26.3 points and 10.8 rebounds. RJ Barrett also fared well against Atlanta, scoring at least 15 points in all four matchups.
Randle and Jalen Brunson will look to have better starts to this game than against the Celtics. Jalen was stellar in his last game against the Hawks on February 15th. Leading the Knicks to a win, he had 28 points, nine rebounds, five assists, and was a +22 from the floor. Atlanta could struggle guarding guards, and we saw Terry Rozier score 24 points and LaMelo have 15 points and 10 assists in the opening-night win. The Knick’s two stars should bounce back nicely in this contest.
Atlanta is led by the dynamic backcourt of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. Murray did not have a good game to open the season on Wednesday, but he was great in two games versus the Knicks last night. In the two Hawks wins, Dejounte averaged 32.5 points, 10.5 assists, five rebounds, and four steals. The Hawks guard is likely to bounce back after a poor outing. His running mate, Trae Young, averaged an inefficient 20.5 points and 7.5 assists in their four outings.
Slowing down those two will be number one on the Knick's defensive game plan. New York can throw a combination of Quentin Grimes, Josh Hart, Immanuel Quickley, and Donte DiVincenzo at them.
The Knicks will also have to be ready to defend the paint. Atlanta scored 58 points in the paint in their first game, tied with the Lakers and Clippers for fourth most in the league. Last season, the Hawks were tied for seventh for most points in the paint per game. The Knickerbockers were the best team in the NBA defending the paint last season. Against the Celtics, New York held Boston to 42 points in the paint, a number they’d probably happily take again versus Atlanta.
Atlanta will likely shoot better than 5-of-29 from three in this game. This can be a hard team to defend when things are clicking. Watch out for Bogdan Bogdanovic, who had a quiet seven points in the opener.
I think the Knicks pick up their first win of the season! The game against Boston was ugly, but they were right in it despite shooting 37 percent from the floor and 14-of-26 at the line. Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson should have good games in a favorable matchup. The Knicks were 24-17 on the road last season, and this is a good spot to build some confidence. It should be a close game, and I like the Knicks to step up and make the necessary defensive play that can swing the game. I would also look out for Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo in this one. Both should play key roles in neutralizing Atlanta’s guards.
A tough road assignment, but it shouldn't surprise anyone if they come out on top.
New York Knicks:
G- Jalen Brunson
G- Quentin Grimes
F- RJ Barrett
F- Julius Randle
C- Mitchell Robinson
G- Trae Young
G- Dejounte Murray
F- De’Andre Hunter
F- Saddiq Bey
C- Clint Capela
Who: New York Knicks @ Atlanta Hawks
When: 7:30 pm EST, Friday, Oct.27
Where: State Farm Arena, 1 State Farm Drive, Atlanta, Georgia
Watch: MSG Network