Kemba Walker in his first game since November 26th gets 29 points in a loss against the Boston Celtics 114-107. The Knicks also got help by Randle with 20 points and Fournier with 32 points. The Celtics were led by the duo of Jayson Tatum with 25 points and 9 rebounds and Jaylen Brown with 23 points.
The Celtics started the game with a 9-2 run by three three-pointers by Brown and Tatum. Kemba Walker got five early points, and two free throws by Alec Burks brought the Celtics’ lead down to 2. But the bench star of the night, Jason Richardson, got 9 out of the 32 Celtics points in the first quarter. Tatum, Brown, and Richardson scored 30 out of the 32 points. Randle and the Knicks had no answers in the first quarter and allowed the Celtics to get a 32-18 lead to finish the first quarter.
Randle finally got on the board with a three-pointer to get the lead down eight at 34-42. But Celtics’ Payton Prichard 13 points in the second quarter helped them keep their lead above 8 points. A Robert Williams lll tip-in shot made the Celtics’ lead 15 going into the half at 62-47.
The Knicks finally came back to life with a fantastic 17-2 run to tie the game at 64. After consecutive three-pointers made by Kemba Walker, they finally got their first lead of the night. Walker finished with 17 points in the third quarter, and with help by Fournier with 11 points, Randle gave the Knicks their most significant lead of the night at five with 33 seconds left in the third quarter. The Knicks were able to keep their slight lead until the fourth quarter.
A Josh Richardson three-pointer gave the Celtics the 91-89 lead, and the Knicks never got the lead back. The Celtics proceeded to keep their lead above four points, and both teams went back-and-forth until Josh Richardson made another three-pointer to finish off the Knicks at 107-114. Richardson finished the game with team-high 27 points, including 12 points in the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter, Jaylen Brown was not a factor and got 0 points. But that didn’t matter at the end of the night.
Kemba Walker is not the problem for the Knicks. Walker finished the game with a plus-minus of +5. The Knicks have not done well at playing defense all season. Their defensive rating is at the bottom of the league. It was great to see Walker back in the rotation. Mitchell Robinson should be the starting center for the Knicks if they want to get back in the top 6 in the Eastern Conference.
Boston now has won two out of their last three games. But losing Dennis Schroder with a non-COVID illness and Al Horford and Grant Williams due to safety protocols will show how deep this Celtics team is. Expect a couple more games with an 8-man rotation. The Celtics will get tested in their next two games against the 76ers and underrated Cavaliers team before their Christmas showdown against the Milwaukee Bucks.
New York will head back home to take on Detroit on Tuesday.
Boston will take on Philadelphia on Monday.
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