Celtics 113, Knicks 104: “Relax...we’re tied with Golden State”

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Celtics 113, Knicks 104: “Relax...we’re tied with Golden State”

Post by admin » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:21 am

Friends, New Yorkers, P&Ters, lend me your ears;
I come to praise the Knickerbockers, not to bury them.
The losing teams do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with the Knicks. The noble David Fizdale,
even after they lost their sixth in a row,
113-104 to the Boston Celtics.

If it were so, it was a grievous growth,
being outscored by 21 on three-pointers,
doubled up on the offensive glass
and managing a mere 15 assists against 14 turnovers.
Here, under leave of the P&T staff–
For P&T is honourable people;
So are they all, all honourable people–
Come I to speak after New York dropped to 4-18,
two games behind last year’s mark at this time.
Fizdale is the coach, struggling in life, same as so many of us:
But Steve Mills suggests Fiz is failing;
And if anyone understands failure, it’s Mills.
He and Scott Perry hath brought many free agents to Manhattan
Whose ransoms did Lucky Sperm Dolan’s inheritance fill:
Did our hope for something more than 17 wins seem ambitious?
When that the losing threatens to stretch into a third decade,
Mills and Perry hath prepared their asses for a soft landing
and prepared for Fizdale the path to perdition.
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff,
if not driven by people with a track record of some success, ANY success,
running an NBA team:
Yet Fizdale says the Knicks are playing better;
And Fizdale is an honourable man.
You all did see that Frank Ntilikina going down with a sore upper back
could not be blamed on Fiz,
nor another 11 missed free throws,
nor turnover after turnover after turnover after crunch-time mothafucking turnover.
The front office thrice promised him a kingly crown,
first Kristaps Porzingis, then Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
Was this ambition?
Yet Mills and Perry say Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis and Elfrid Payton
were “a successful free agency period,”
And, sure, they are honourable men.
I speak not to disprove what these roundball geniuses spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did support Fiz’s hiring once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And this abused fan base has lost their reason, with good reason.
Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with the same heart that’s died lo these 20 years,
And I must pause till it comes back to me.

Translation:

It was Kids Day at Madison Square Garden, in the stands and on the floor: Taj Gibson and Julius Randle started along with 19-year-old RJ Barrett, 20-year-old Kevin Knox and Old Man Ntilikina. Knox saw his first action after two DNPs because Marcus Morris was out with neck spasms.

The early stages of the game saw both teams frequently turning the ball over. Knox and Mitchell Robinson both got into early foul trouble, but Barrett and Randle both got off to hot starts, with Randle inheriting the old Boston Porzingis tactic of guarding the big man with smaller guards, in this case Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and even he’s-only-six-feet-tall-on-his-OK-Cupid-profile Carsen Edwards.

Jayson Tatum was swishing and dishing for the C’s. Gibson discovered some Celtics were feeling transgressively generous with the assists.

Ntilikina left the game in the second with a sore upper back and would not return. So with Frank out, Elfrid Payton suffering an unceasing Mets-like hamstring injury and Kadeem Allen God knows where, it was left to Dennis Smith Jr. to carry that weight. The game was neck-and-neck the entire half, with the last two minutes a back-and-forth three-point bonanza; it was like watching Rocky and Clubber Lang go at it. The Knicks’ effort energy “compete-level” (hire me, MSG!) was in the black. They were hitting their free throws. The bait was bought; the trap was set. It felt like a game they could win.

In many a third quarter, Randle is New York’s canary in the coal mine. I can’t recall how many games this year he’s been the focus of some dark omen, always in the third. Today it was him airballing a three. It wasn’t his first airball from downtown in this game, and that was what stuck with me. How many times does a team win when their leading shot-taker airballs twice from deep? You may have thought Smart getting knocked out of the game with what looked like an injured oblique with the Knicks up as many as nine meant good times again. Oh, you sweet summer child.

This is how you lose her: Barrett impressed with his aggression going to the basket, but after hitting seven of his first eight free throws the hiccups kicked in; he’d miss four straight. Silent-film villain Enes Kanter killed New York on the glass, grabbing nearly as many offensive rebounds (6) as the Knicks (8). Your rooting interest entered the fourth with a four-point lead and opened the quarter with back-to-back offensive fouls by Wayne Ellington and Robinson. Bobby Portis did that thing he does where he scores 5-6 points in 30 seconds, but you’re not sure if he did anything else the rest of the game. Robinson picked up one of a few dumb fouls trying to block Kanter after Turkish Delight got an offensive rebound right under the basket. With just under nine minutes left, the Knicks’ only rim protector was back to the bench.

There is no fall without the rising action that precedes it. Randle scored a couple of times against triple-teams, and despite the lack of rest Smith Jr. was mostly a positive the whole second half. But some nights you know your team can’t fall behind or they’ll never get back up. Tonight was one of those nights.

A Semi Ojeleye corner three tied the game at 95. After a mid-quarter timeout, Dotson dribbled up the floor and practically handed the ball to Jaylen Brown, who took it the other way for a lay-up to put Boston in front for the first time all half. Then Randle coughed it up trying to camel his way through the eye of a needle (in his defense, he is a rich man). Finally, Barrett airballed a three, resulting in a 24-second violation. Shortly thereafter, DSJ passed it to where Knox had been a second earlier but no longer was. By the time Tatum capped a 12-0 Celtic run with a three-ball, the game was out of reach. But not the insults.

A “Let’s Go Celtics!” chant broke out near the end. This is the kind of game that gets coaches fired, which is another way of saying it’s the kind of game that allows a bumbling snake to scapegoat someone he thought was the answer a little over a year ago in order to stick around long enough to hire the next scapegoat.

As is de rigueur for the Knicks whenever they’re down 7+ points in the final minute, they went for two rather than three. This time Barrett was the guilty party, suggesting he’s being poorly influenced by the older boys. On the C’s last possession of the game, they missed but got the offensive rebound, and Robinson, frustrated, fouled out hacking meaninglessly at Kemba.

The last time these teams played, the Celtics outscored the Knicks 36-19 in the fourth quarter. Today it was 32-19. You wanna blame Fizdale for that? OK. You think Mike Miller or Mike Woodson or Pat Riley would’ve won this game? OK. I hate losing to the Celtics, any time, all the time. I hate being 22 games into a season and already knowing it’s a write-off. But my frustration can co-exist with my realization that this team, especially missing two of their starters for some/all of the action, was overmatched. For that, at least, I don’t blame Fizdale, and I’m not pissed at the players. I think they did what they could. You want understanding? Crash the palace at 33rd and 8th someday, break into the sanctum sanctorum and follow the sound of Nero fiddling while Rome burns.

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