Knicks open preseason with victory over Celtics

NBA: Preseason-Boston Celtics at New York Knicks
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks opened their preseason against their opponent for Opening Night, the Boston Celtics, and came out victorious Monday night with a 114-107 win.

The Celtics were playing in the second half of a rare preseason back-to-back, so Jrue Holiday, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kristaps Porzingis all sat this one out.

The Knicks led for the majority of the game and never looked back.

The star of the show for the Knicks was Immanuel Quickley, who led the Knicks in scoring with 21 points on 8-14 shooting while adding three assists and three steals to his line.

Another sparkler came from Evan Fournier, who has been vocal recently about what he can bring to this Knicks team. In 20 minutes of action Monday, Fournier scored 11 points and shot 3-7 from beyond the arc. While that performance alone is unlikely to earn him a rotation spot, it is nice to see him make head coach Tom Thibodeau at least consider him as an option going forward.

Jalen Brunson only played five minutes in this game but shined in that short stint, as he dropped in 10 points on 4-5 shooting and knocked down one three-pointer. Brunson likely won’t play much this preseason, as he participated in the FIBA World Cup for Team USA over the summer.

Mitchell Robinson put in a solid effort defensively, recording two steals, three blocks, and seven rebounds while also displaying tremendous athleticism offensively, adding 10 points to his tally.

RJ Barrett struggled to get his shot to fall (1-6 from the floor), but was dialed in at the free throw line, going 9-9 from the charity stripe to finish with 12 points. He also displayed solid playmaking abilities and made some nice passes to open shooters.

Julius Randle played in his first game since undergoing ankle surgery in the offseason, scoring 11 points in 12 minutes on 3-4 shooting while grabbing four rebounds.

Jericho Sims got the most burnout of any Knick Monday night, playing a team-high 25 minutes. He would finish the game with zero points, seven rebounds, three assists, and a block.

Thibodeau seemed to experiment lineups with Sims playing the backup power forward position, which is currently left vacant after Obi Toppin’s departure. However, as of now, it is unlikely that Sims becomes the everyday backup power forward, as the anticipation is that the Knicks will continue to run a nine-man rotation like they did last season.

The likeliest of candidates to fill that backup power forward spot is Josh Hart, who did not appear in Monday’s game as a healthy inactive. Hart also played in the FIBA Cup this summer alongside Brunson, so his workload will likely be limited this preseason.

While it is too soon to make any definitive conclusions on players, it was refreshing to see the Knicks back in action and continuing their winning ways, even if it is just the preseason.

They will have some time to rest and regroup before their next preseason game, as they will not play again until this upcoming Saturday, Oct. 14, against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Madison Square Garden.

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