Jayson looked more like Drederick—a sideshow character, that is—as Tatum got ejected for the first time in his glorious career during the Boston Celtics' 109-94 defeat to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Monday.
Tatum, a presumed MVP candidate, finished the game with 14 points on 18 field-goal attempts scoring one of his nine three-point shots. But he dished out nine dimes! What about that!?
The New York Knicks (36-27) moved up to the no. 5 seed in the East overtaking the tanking Nets while knocking Boston (44-18) off the no. 1 spot in favor of the never-losing Milwaukee Bucks.
“Anytime you’re going against the Eastern Conference champion... They’re in the Finals. It’s a good test for us,” coach Tom Thibodeau said speaking of Boston’s talents before the game.
Then, the Knicks proceeded to limit Boston’s scoring prowess to a measly 15 points in the first stanza, the first time they have dumped fewer than 20 points in any first quarter they’ve played this season.
Jaylen Brown missed the game for personal reasons. There you have your tidy excuse for the loss, Lil’ Leprechauns!
“We have a team of leaders, a team of gym rats,” Thibodeau said after blasting the C’s and adding their scalp to the ones of the Cavs, the Sixers, and the Nets, all beaten once or twice in the past month-and-change.
“We start off every year thinking, ‘let’s get better every day’,” Thibs added. “You want to be able to play your best at the end of the season.“
Julius Randle and Immanuel Quickley, starting and coming off the pine respectively, led your Knickerbockers in the scoring column bagging 23 points each on their way to lifting New York for the sixth time in a row.
“Good, solid team win,” said Thibodeau. “No lead feels safe [against the Celtics]. We had a good all-around play.” Boston led the game 3-0 but once New York went up 5-3 on the scoreboard less than two minutes into this affair that was it for the Beantowners.
Mitchell Robinson, as has been the case every single time he’s been on the court after returning from injury, put up another double-double with 10 points and 13 boards in 32 minutes of play.
“We came out with the right energy and the right mindset,” said Robinson.
Jalen Brunson keeps struggling on the shooting end (4-of-12), but he found a way to contribute 17 pops to go with a little bit of everything else dishing out four assists, grabbing four boards, and committing a theft.
“We’re in a good place but with a lot of work to do,” Brunson said.
The Knicks built a double-digit lead early, most of the second half felt safe, and the Knicks went away with another W on a very frustrating day for the visiting Celtics.
Tatum got his first technical foul after a dunk in the third quarter and was later thrown out of the game entirely in the fourth having missed a three-point shot—screaming and bitching at halfcourt—arguing about what he considered a missed call by the refs.
“All great players get thrown out a few times in their career, so it’s good for my rep,” Tatum said.
Josh Hart stayed perfect since he started donning New York threads, now sitting at an immaculate, undefeated, undisputed 6-0 record with the Knicks. He scored 12 points, got five rebounds, and assisted five buckets.
“We don’t want to make the playoffs. We want to make a run in the playoffs,” Hart said. “And I think we have the capability to do that.” The vibes.
Quentin Grimes (21 minutes) kept losing playing time but it’s not that Hart’s scorching-hot run is making that decision look bad on Thibs’ gameplan. The All-Star participant scored five points, got four assists, and swatted a rock. RJ Barrett struggled, scoring 10 pops on 14 FGA but pulling down seven rebounds in 26 minutes.
Should-be-6MOTY Quickley finished the day putting up numbers all across the board with 23 points, 3 boards, two dimes, and one steal while not turning the ball over even once.
New York wraps up February with a 9-2 record in the shortest month of the year. Feels good after last season’s 1-9 record in the same 28-day period.
“It took everyone being on the same wavelength. We were locked into the game plan and we were able to execute,” finished Hart.
The Knicks host the Brooklyn Nets (34-26) at MSG on Wednesday to kick March off before going on the road for a couple of games at Miami and Boston. Tip-off at 7:30 EST. The Knicks don’t lose to the Nets anymore, so don’t miss it.