Keys to the Game: Celtics 116, Knicks 102

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Key Moment

Third-quarter woes appear to be a thing of the past for the Boston Celtics, as they’ve emerged from the All-Star break with two straight wins, both of which were fueled by big runs right after halftime.

On Thursday night a 37-21 third-quarter advantage sparked a 129-112 win in Chicago. Then on Saturday night, a 33-13 third-quarter stretch served as the climax for a 116-102 victory in New York.

Now, let’s dive into the latter performance that just took place at Madison Square Garden.

It was a close game for most of the first half and it was all tied up at 64 points apiece just over a minute into the third quarter. It took the C’s just nine minutes to turn that tie into a 20-point lead.

Kristaps Porzingis, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown took over this stretch, accounting for 24 of the team’s 33 points. KP logged nine points, JT had eight, and JB contributed with seven, while missing only two shots total (they shot 9-of-11 during this run).

Their combined effort put the Celtics on top 97-77 with just over a minute remaining in the third, a quarter in which they made nine of their first 11 3-point attempts. From there, they coasted to their eighth straight win.

Key Player

While Rainn Wilson was sitting courtside Saturday night, Jaylen Brown was raining Wilson on the court at Madison Square Garden.

Brown erupted out of the gate with 20 points in the first half on 9-of-12 shooting, mirroring his first-half scoring total from Thursday night’s win in Chicago. It marked the first time in his career that he’s logged consecutive 20-point first halves, and he pulled it off Saturday night in just 17 minutes.

Brown finished with 30 points and eight rebounds, both of which were team highs. He also handed out three assists, snagged one steal, and tied Jayson Tatum for the game-high in plus/minus with a plus-15.

For JB, it was just another day at The Office.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Jaylen Brown led the Celtics in both points (30) and rebounds (eight).
  • Jalen Brunson paced the Knicks with 34 points and nine assists.
  • Kristaps Porzingis logged 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting against his former Knicks team.
  • The Celtics shot 57.5 percent (46-of-80) from the field.
  • Jrue Holiday, Jayson Tatum, and Derrick White led the C’s with six assists apiece.
  • Boston corralled seven of its 10 offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter, including four on one possession.
  • Al Horford grabbed nearly half of those offensive boards, finishing with four.
  • The Celtics shot 9-of-13 from long range in the third quarter.
  • Boston outscored New York 58-38 in the paint.

Quote of the Night

“I prefer any kind of emotion over no emotion. So either it’s cheers or boos, I want it.”

– Kristaps Porzingis on emracing the boos in New York

Source: NBA