Knicks Lose Arron Afflalo and Preseason Finale Game 85-99


27. Final. 99. 18. 85

In the final game of the preseason the New York Knicks took on the Boston Celtics Thursday night. Boston were without Isiah Thomas and Kelly Olynyk, opting to rest them.

Kristaps Porzingis was a tad too aggressive early on, picking up two early fouls in the first two-plus minute of play. For some reason head coach Derek Fisher decided not take Porzingis out of the game after his second foul…and being an inexperienced rookie, Porzingis picked up his third personal foul two minutes later. Porzingis would not see action again until late in the second quarter.

The hot start of  Jose Calderon and Robin Lopez really kept the Knicks in the game in the first quarter. Calderon knocked down two three-pointers early on and then freed himself up for a pull-up jumper, scoring eight of his total 17 points in the first quarter.

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Lopez in a span of a minute really showed why the Knicks went after him this offseason. In a nice sequence of plays by RoLo, he protected the rim by blocking a sure layup by Avery Bradley and then ran the floor not assuming Arron Afflalo would make the fastbreak bucket. Lopez hustled back for the put-back layup, cutting the deficit to a single possession 14-17 with 5:04 remaining in the first quarter. Lopez shortly after would then make a mid-range jumper on a pick-and-pop play with Calderon, essentially showing almost all of his repertoire.

After one-quarter of play the Celtics lead 29-23, with Tyler Zeller leading the way with 11 first quarter points, getting into the paint easily for floaters and layups. Zeller finished the game with 15 points and 5 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony really struggled in the first quarter, going 1/7 from the field. Jae Crowder and company did a great job of making Melo’s life difficult. Anthony would only score six points in the first half on 3/11 shooting.

The bench for New York really got them back into the game, going on a 7-2 run early in the second quarter to make it a single possession game, 30-33. Although Boston responded…with Jared Sullinger of all people…being personally responsible for a 8-2 Boston run. Sullinger scored six of the eight points and handed out an assist to David Lee for a layup, extending Boston lead to double figures 43-32 with 5:09 remaining in the second quarter. Sullinger scored ten of his total 16 points in the second quarter.

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Porzingis tried to keep the Knicks in the game, getting to the rim for a layup immediately after being inserted back into the game. Porzingis then showed off a nice shimmy fadeaway on the following possession, but despite his best efforts the Knicks would only trade baskets with the Celtics to end the first half. Boston held a 55-43 advantage entering halftime.

New York in the third quarter really clamped down defensively, forcing Boston to 30% shooting in the period. Calderon and Derrick Williams really kept the Knicks in the game, combining to score 15 of New York’s 26 third quarter points. New York faced a deficit of 74-69 heading into the final period of play.

Although health became a major concern in the third quarter as Afflalo played only two second-half minutes, leaving the game with a tight hamstring. Hopefully this was a precautionary move with the regular season less than a week away.

Then late in the third quarter Calderon drew an offensive foul from Marcus Smart late in the third quarter but was sent crashing into Kyle O’Quinn… O’Quinn left the floor grimacing…but not to fear, ever the tough guy O’Quinn returned early in the fourth quarter.

New York hung in there with Boston throughout the fourth quarter despite shooting only 27% from the field in the final period. Although back-to-back three-pointers by the 16th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft, Terry Rozier, really broke the camel’s back, extending Boston’s lead to 92-80 with 3:14 left in the game. Boston would go on to win 99-85.

Anthony really struggled Thursday night, scoring only eight points on 4/18 shooting. Williams really helped off the bench, keeping the Knicks in the game with 14 points.

The preseason is over and now the real deal will start next Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks. Hopefully Afflalo and the rest of the Knicksis 100% by then.

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