The Boston Celtics rebounded from last week’s back-to-back losses to Minnesota and Philadelphia and can stretch their winning streak to three games when they host the New York Knicks on Monday night.
Boston ended its two-game skid with a 121-107 victory over Brooklyn on Friday, then beat Toronto 117-94 on Saturday. The win against Toronto improved Boston’s home record to 4-0.
“I think what we’re trying to do is share the ball a little bit more,” Boston center Kristaps Porzingis said. “We’re obviously all talented and have a lot of scorers on this team, but we play our best basketball when we’re sharing the ball and everybody’s feeling good. That way we get more energy on the defensive end. There’s going to be ups and downs throughout the season, but I feel like these last couple games we’ve made some steps forward.”
Monday’s game will be the second time the Celtics and Knicks have faced each other this season. Boston earned a 108-104 victory on Oct. 25 in the season opener for both teams.
Porzingis had 30 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots in that victory. The Knicks took Porzingis with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft but traded him to Dallas in 2019.
The Knicks enter Monday’s game after Sunday’s 129-107 win over Charlotte. The victory stretched New York’s winning streak to three games.
RJ Barrett scored a team-high 24 points for New York, which received 23 points from Julius Randle and 20 from Jalen Brunson. Both players sat out the fourth quarter. The Knicks shot a season-high 54 percent from the field.
New York held Charlotte to 46.8 percent shooting from the field (44 of 94).
“Just staying tied in on that end, communication, taking the easy points away and rebounding the basketball,” Randle said when asked about New York’s defensive effort. “Just have to rest up, recover, get back and get ready to do the same thing (Monday).”
Barrett is averaging 22.6 points per game and leads New York in scoring. Brunson is averaging 22.2 points.
Boston scored a season-high 60 points in the paint during Saturday’s win over Toronto.
“I thought in the second half we did a good job of getting in more space and then driving, and we were making the right play at the rim,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. “We were able to get some of their bigs away from the rim, and we drove downhill.”
Mazzulla added that he was pleased with Boston’s defense, which didn’t allow Toronto to score more than 25 points in any of the final three quarters.
“Our transition defense starts with our shot selection and our turnovers and our ability to play good offense,” Mazzulla said. “So when we can keep teams out of transition, keep them in the halfcourt and limit them to one shot and defend without fouling, we can be a good defensive team.”
Jayson Tatum leads Boston in both scoring (27.7 points per game) and rebounding (9.2 boards per game).
“I just try to make good things happen when I’m on the floor, play the right way and try to impact winning,” Tatum said.
–Field Level Media