Isaiah Thomas Comes Up Big! Defeating the Knicks 100-91

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18. 91. 27. Final. 100

With the New York Knicks being well rested and left off the NBA Christmas day schedule for the first time in seven years, the team had a complete meltdown on Boxing Day. The Knicks blew a first quarter 15 point lead, and went down by as many as 24 points in the final period against the Atlanta Hawks. New York eventually went on to lose 117-98.

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Following the loss, Carmelo Anthony called out the Knicks for not being able to make the proper in-game adjustments. So how did the team respond against the eighth seeded Boston Celtics?

Not great…

It started off well enough, with a hotly contested first quarter. The game went back and forth with 5 ties and 4 lead changes in the first half. Boston though claimed a double-digit lead with a 9-0 run midway through the second quarter to lead 38-27.

The Celtics would lead by as many as 14 points, led by potential All-Star Isaiah Thomas. Thomas scored nine points and handed out some a couple of dazzling assists to lead the Celtics to a 51-41 first half advantage.

Both teams shot poorly in the first half, but New York shot 32.7% from the field… while Boston shot a little better at 41.3%.

New York almost suffered another scare from rookie Kristaps Porzingis, who limped back to the bench after contesting a Jae Crowder dunk in the first quarter. Porzingis seemed to be okay, returning in the second quarter; albeit continuing to struggle.

The rookie got himself into foul trouble, picking up his third foul a minute into the second half, and head coach Derek Fisher decided to keep Porzingis in the game. A couple of minutes later Anthony would also pick up his third foul of the game, and again Fisher kept the player in the game.

Boston never really took advantage of the fouls on the two Knick forwards. What the Celtics did take advantage of was turnovers. New York ONCE AGAIN committed way too many turnovers in the third quarter. After the Knicks only committed four turnovers in the first half, New York DOUBLED that total alone in the third quarter…

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Anthony did his best to keep the Knicks within reach, not allowing New York to fall behind by too much by scoring eight of his game high 29 points in the third quarter. Although… after saying that “We got to want it more“… Anthony allowed his match-up Crowder to explode for 13 points in the third quarter. Crowder finished the game with 18 points, connecting on three triples in the game.

Derrick Williams really brought some energy off the bench in the fourth quarter, going a personal 5-0 mini-run to cut the deficit to single digit; 85-78 with 7:14 left in the game. A couple of minutes later an Anthony three-pointer would cut the deficit to five, the closest the Knicks would ever get Sunday night.

Isiah Thomas COMPLETELY took over the game in crunch time, scoring eight straight points to finish the game. More importantly with the game in the balance (96-89) and the Knicks needing a defensive stop, the 5’9″ guard grabbed TWO offensive rebounds… The smallest player on the court made the biggest plays all night long. Thomas finished the game with 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists.

Boston went on to win 100-91, sending New York to their fourth straight loss.

The Knicks really had a good amount of chances to be within striking distance, but missed very make-able shots. Porzingis missed a few good looks, and Langston Galloway and Arron Afflalo missed wide-open three-pointers that would have cut the deficit down to one possession. All three players really struggled from the field, shooting a combined 8/30 Sunday night.

Next: Lance Thomas: The Story of a D-Leaguer Turned Crucial NBA Role Player

The Knicks will look to stop their losing ways, as they return home Tuesday night to face the Detroit Pistons. Hopefully New York can resolve their turnover problems.