Studs no Duds: Knicks wipe the floor with the Celtics in TD Garden

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) controls the ball while Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) defends during the first half at TD Garden.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Dominantly, Jalen Brunson led the New York Knicks to a remarkable win over the number one seed in the east, the Boston Celtics. The tremendous defense from New York suffocated Boston from the opening tip, holding Tatum and Brown to 2/12 from beyond the arc as the Knicks lead ballooned to 31 at the end of the third quarter.

Winners of three in a row, the Knicks are in preparation for a deep playoff run and would be a problem for any team in the Eastern Conference. They wiped the floor with the Celtics in TD Garden on Thursday with a final score of 118-109.

Studs: Jalen Brunson continues to dominate

Averaging 39.4 points per game over the last five games, Jalen Brunson has been the best guard in the Eastern Conference this season. There is an argument that Jalen Brunson is the best player in the Eastern Conference. The best ability is availability, and Brunson has been the ammunition for the Knicks high octane offense all season.

The Knicks have the highest offensive rating in the NBA over the last ten games, as Jalen Brunson sits fifth in points this season at 28.5 points per game. All players ahead of Brunson in scoring have been considered in the MVP rankings all season. On the NBA’s official MVP ladder, top contenders make up the rankings, but one name omitted was Jalen Brunson.

In the past week, Brunson has led the Knicks to victories over two of the top five players in the MVP race, and still no recognition. This has been the case all season, as Brunson was omitted from being an all-star starter. Now, the MVP race discounting Brunson is one thing, but what would be a disappointment is if Brunson was left off an All-NBA team. Jalen Brunson has shattered all expectations of him coming into this season, and doing so, shakes the business and storylines across the NBA in real time

Jalen Brunson was not on the NBA marquee to start the season, and now he is front and center stage, leading the Knicks to a possible second seed in the Eastern Conference. 

Studs: Josh Hart can do it all

The unorthodox assembly of skills that Josh Hart equips will become a popular variant of a player as time moves on. The impact of Hart on both sides of the ball across multiple skill sets makes him an invaluable member of the New York Knicks. Josh Hart showed every level of his repertoire as he went for 16 points, 16 rebounds, and five assists in only three quarters.

The prolific podcast host stuffed the stat sheet in the first quarter with eight points, five rebounds, and two assists, while Jayson Tatum’s seven-point quarter possibly benefit more if he played with the unbridled intensity of Josh Hart. Despite the ejection against Chicago, Josh Hart is averaging 17 points and 11 rebounds over the last four contests.

Studs: The Knicks’ defense was suffocating

The unexpected rest in the fourth quarter was the reward for such a spectacular defensive performance by the New York Knicks. OG is at the helm again, and the Knicks are now 18-3 when Anunoby plays. The heightened sense of the team’s defense with OG’s presence alone creates a level of intensity opposing teams are not accustomed to.

That will be the X-factor in the playoffs as New York will combat teams with defensive matchups that force them into uncomfortable circumstances. The contagious energy that comes from heightened senses on both sides of the ball was a catalyst in the contributions of DiVincenzo and Bogdanovic as well.

They both combined for 31 points, as it was Bogdanovic’s second quarter of seven straight that formulated the bridge between New York and Boston, ultimately leading to a blowout win. That blowout win was fueled by making Boston uncomfortable and keeping it that way from the opening tip.

Takeaways from the Knicks win over the Celtics 

The Knicks went to Boston ready to prove a point. The announcement of Julius Randle being out for five months sounds like a snowball effect on the season, but it’s been the exact opposite. Brunson is not only capable of leading the Knicks farther than last season, but the team believes it, and it showed in the championship-level basketball grit New York played against the Celtics.

This league-best defense with Anunoby and the highest-rated offense to close the season has New York in prime positioning to become the number two seed in the East. Looking ahead, the Knicks will face Brooklyn and Chicago to close the season.

Winning both games may catapult the Knicks to a second seed and Brunson into MVP consideration. Now one game back from the second seed; who can say they saw this coming when Randle got hurt initially? The Knicks had a rough February and are doing better than anyone expected. 

Mentioned in this article:

More about: