Knicks News: Arron Afflalo Returns as Knicks Stay Undefeated in Preseason


18. Final. 101. 27. 95

Arron Afflalo and Kevin Seraphin returned to the New York Knicks‘ lineup Friday night. Rookie Kristaps Porzingis is feeling 100% but was held out for precautionary measures but should play Saturday night.

New York jumped out to an early 8-2 lead against the Boston Celtics, and lead by as many as nine points after Afflalo converted on an and-one opportunity. Afflalo finished the game with eight points in eight minutes of play. What was most impressive was that Afflalo grabbed five rebounds in such a short amount of time.

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Boston though responded with a 10-0 run, powered by Isaiah Thomas, who was personally responsible for 7/10 points, setting up Avery Bradley for a three-pointer, then knocking one down himself and then getting into the paint for a floater. Boston took the lead 14-13 with 4:36 remaining in the opening quarter. Thomas finished the game with 13 points and 5 assists.

Both bench just exchanged baskets to end the first quarter, Langston Galloway recorded three assist in under two minutes of play, setting up Cleanthony Early for a three-pointer and then running the pick-and-pop and then pick-and-roll with Kyle O’Quinn.

Early had a monster block to start the second quarter, leading to a Galloway three-pointer, reclaiming the lead 34-32. Early would continue to make his presence known, getting into the paint for a two-handed jam, and then knocking down a three-pointer on the following possession, giving the Knicks a 39-36 advantage.

Both team would go ice-cold from the field in the second quarter, as Boston went for seven minutes without a field goal, while New York did not fare much better, converting on only one field goal in seven minutes. Although some of it was defense (like the Melo’s block), a lot of it was mostly missed open shots.

Boston shot a dismal 30% from the field in the second quarter, while New York was only slightly better at 33% from the field. Although New York was able to outscore Boston in the quarter 23-15, largely because of the long-ball, connecting on 3/7 from downtown, giving New York a 54-47 halftime lead.

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New York started to falter mid-way through the third quarter as Boston went on a mini 7-0 to get within three-points, 62-65 but O’Quinn refused to let the Knicks lose any momentum as he easily scored a layup and then blocked a David Lee layup, outletting a pass to Derrick Williams, who missed the layup… then as Celtics turned the other way O’Quinn picked off the passing lane and gave Williams another chance, this time converting, giving New York a 69-62 lead with 4:39 remaining in the third quarter. O’Quinn finished the game with a double-double, 13 points and 11 rebounds.

O’Quinn later in the quarter though…would get overzealous defensively, committing a flagrant one foul on Jared Sullinger, as he attacked him on the fastbreak. It was a weird finish to the third quarter as Boston committed a 24-second clock violation and then the Knicks would do the same on the following possession…as Jerian Grant over-dribbled the ball. New York lead 77-73 entering the final quarter of play.

In the fourth quarter, it seemed like anytime Boston made a push and was within one possession, New York would knock down a three-pointer to stop any further progress. First Galloway knocked a three-pointer down when Boston got within three points, with eight minutes remaining. Then Sasha Vujacic hit one from downtown when Boston got within two points with over four minutes remaining. The final nail in the coffin was when Williams drilled one with a little over three minutes left in the game. The Celtics could not get over the hump, as New York stay undefeated 101-95.

New York thrived Friday night from beyond the arc, converting on 48% of their attempts. New York also had 17 more opportunities than Boston because of 12 steals and 18 offensive rebounds.

Williams yet again had himself another fabulous preseason game, scoring a game high 19 points. Superstar Carmelo Anthony struggled for the first time in preseason though, going only 4/14 from the field.

It will be interesting to see how head coach Derek Fisher will handle the rotation on a back-to-back game. But one thing is certain, Porzingis will be playing, so it will be a must watch.

Next: Arron Afflalo the Key to 2015-16 Knicks