Knicks: Studs and Duds from Season Opener Loss

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) looks to drive past New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) in the second quarter at Madison Square Garden
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

An epic showdown to begin the new season saw the New York Knicks at home facing the Boston Celtics. Rolling out the new season for the Knicks featured a starting five of Jalen Brunson, Quentin Grimes, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson.

The new and improved top-heavy Celtics look to be a force this season but matching against the depth of the Knicks will be a quest easier said than done. The Knicks are back and better than ever with a familiar cohesiveness to begin this NBA season. However, their season kicks off with an L, as the Celtics win the season opener 108-104.

Duds: The Knicks struggled to defend the Celtics’ stars in the first half

Star power on the Celtics’ behalf saw a dominant opening from Porzingis and Tatum. Combing for 34 points in the first half, the defense on both players considered lackadaisical, allowing them to get buckets and containing the rest.

Duds: A slow start for Jalen Brunson

The first half also saw a slow start for Knicks star Jalen Brunson, going two for nine in the first half of action. The Knicks’ offensive leaders Brunson and Julius Randle both stayed aggressive, yet their shot selection was seen as erratic, keeping the offense away from strengths in transition and moving the ball. The isolation-heavy variation New York is known for on offense must be mitigated when up against good teams. 

Studs: RJ Barrett lights up the first half

The first half was the RJ Barrett show. Following the summer of a lifetime on Team Canada, the Knick’s rising star put up 14 first-half points and three for four from the free throw line.

The second in command for the Knicks was Immanuel Quickley. Following the extension noise before the start of the season, expect Quickley to make an impact on tonight’s contest. The Knicks cut a 12-point lead to five going into the break. 

Studs: Quentin Grimes sparks huge second-half run

An incredible 10–0 run sparked by a huge three from Quentin Grimes changed the pace of the entire game.

In game one of 82, the Knicks looked much more cohesive in the third quarter. Better pressure defensively created seamless looks for New York.

Studs: Josh Hart gives the Knicks their first lead

A huge three from Josh Hart early in the fourth saw the Knicks take their first lead of the night.

Studs: Immanuel Quickley drops 24 off the bench

More ball movement and fewer isolation buckets saw opportunities for Quickley and RJ Barrett to shine. Immanuel Quickley was a star in the second half. The poise of this young player following all the contract negotiation noise took the energy from the Boston Celtics in the fourth quarter. Quickley finished with 24 points in the contest. 

Duds: The Knicks let the Celtics win on a big run to close the game

The Knicks’ style of basketball, being catered to isolation play, insists on the communication and will of their best players. If these players do not show that 100% percent of the time, the Knicks do not possess the capabilities to run with the best teams.

A great third-quarter run for New York saw the same counter by the Celtics. An 11-3 run, in the final three minutes of the game saw Boston take advantage and ultimately close out the Knicks behind a dominant performance from Kristaps Porzingis. 

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