2015-16 Game Thread: Knicks vs Celtics

Then put your little… hand in mine…
There ain’t no hill or mountain… we can’t climb…

6 o'clock

Thus begins Bill Murray’s morning in Groundhog Day when his alarm clock goes off at the Ungodly hour of 6 AM. It being Groundhog Day it seems to fit my new morning routine because we got the bright idea to adopt a puppy. He’s cute, sure. But when they tell you training a new puppy is stressful and takes a lot of work, they are underselling it. It’s a recurring nightmare of reinforcing behaviors that begins every day at 6 AM, with minor improvements each day, just like in the iconic movie named after the Holiday nobody actually celebrates but is legally today.

The song’s lyrics also strike me as metaphorically inspirational to the Knicks before they host the Celtics at MSG tonight. Over the last six games, the Knicks and Celtics have been mirror images of each other. The Celtics are 5-1, losing the second game of a home-and-home to the Magic, and collecting wins over Orlando, Denver, Washington, Philadelphia and Chicago. Not exactly murderer’s row, though the win over the Bulls can’t be disregarded. The Knicks, in contrast, have gone 1-5 in their last six games, their lone win coming against the Suns, and their losses coming against Golden State, Oklahoma City, Toronto, the Clippers and the Hornets. The Hornets loss, like the Celtics win against the Bulls, can’t be disregarded. But that’s a rough stretch of games for the Knicks. This is a classic example of how scheduling can affect mid-season streaks. If you heard the Celtics had won 5 of 6 and the Knicks had lost 5 of 6 and knew nothing else, you could safely assume the Celtics were playing much better basketball. But in fact, the Celtics are benefiting from playing a soft set of games against sub-.500 teams, and four of those Knicks’ losses are to 4 of the top 6 teams in the league. The NBA schedule, man. The brutal stretches can make it seem like Armageddon and the soft ones can make your team look like a juggernaut. So we’ve always got to keep perspective of the schedule when looking at narratives in NBA reporting.

The Knicks and Celtics are also almost identical mirror images of each other in record, with the Celtics coming into the game at 27-22 and the Knicks at 23-27. This puts the Celtics a half game out of the 3 seed, and the Knicks three games out of the 8 spot. The Knicks have been treating the playoff hunt like a hipster does cultural norms, living on the fringes and remaining just out of distance for the last two months. They’ve risen to .500 and come agonizingly close to the 8 seed, only to lose a few games and end up right where they started. It’s like the same cycle keeps repeating itself… kinda like Bill Murray’s purgatory in Groundhog Day.

Groundhog Day

The last time these two teams played was three weeks ago, and the Knicks won 120-114 behind points from Kristaps. He shot a season-high nine 3-pointers in that game, a statistical oddity when you look at box scores as often as I do, and I didn’t get to watch that game so I’m not sure exactly why he was launching so many that night. The Celtics have several slow bigs in their rotation like Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk, so I’m assuming drawing them out to the perimeter with Taps was by design, and maybe more of that will prove effective against the Celtics tonight.

And as much as I like to heap praise on Kristaps, the rest of the Knicks played very well that night against Boston, with 5 other Knicks scoring in double figures and all contributing a positive +/- rating in the game. The term “team win” is on the Mount Rushmore of sports cliches, right up there with “gave it 100%”, “at the end of the day” and “I’m just here so I don’t get fined.”

Martian the Illest

But that game was a team win as evidenced by every statistical measure, and that’s the kind of team the Knicks are capable of being when they’re rolling and their confidence is up. There’s certainly enough talent on this roster to beat the Celtics tonight, but it can be tough to come into a game with confidence after playing Golden State. The Warriors crush hope as effectively as the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office, and teams tend to play poorly the game after playing the Warriors. I think so much energy goes into a game against the Warriors that it can be a bit disheartening to see them outclass you the way that they can. Some teams can take a beating from the Warriors and see how high the bar is raised and want to get there, and others can take the same beating, see where that same bar is, and decide that getting to that bar is impossible.

I don’t think the league is conceding the season, certainly not San Antonio, or the organization stinking of desperation like a balding middle-aged man at a college bar bargaining with a drunk girl to “get her home safe” at last call, the Cavaliers. But the drubbings they both have taken from the Warriors look the same as every other beat-down the Dubs have inflicted on the league. The 2015-16 Warriors are like that kid who matures bizarrely fast and is 6 feet tall and filled out in 5th grade; there are just no realistic rivals until everybody else catches up.

Man, I love gushing about the Warriors. Tough not to right now because they’re on my mind, I’m seeing them play the Wizards in DC tomorrow night with some buddies, so I finally get to see this team live. Don’t let me down Steph, you only scored 13 the other night against the Knicks and I didn’t pay an exorbitant price for this mediocre ticket to see you not hit some 30 foot 3’s like they’re free throws!

Anyways, the Knicks have some schedule relief coming up, and it would be good to get back to winning, just for their confidence and continued belief in this season before the All-Star Break, with a W against the Celtics tonight. Also, one of my best friends is a Celtics fan, and him and his punk ass dog Vino can go fuck themselves for cheering against the Knicks tonight. You guys threw Paul Pierce away like a moldy loaf of bread and you should be ashamed of your Leprechaun agenda-pushing franchise!


That’s the message the Celtics want to give to young people?

I’d rather support a franchise with a little class. Go Knicks!

Liked it? Take a second to support Erik Judd on Patreon!

Erik Judd

I'm a lifelong basketball fan whose interests range from some things to other things.

159 thoughts to “2015-16 Game Thread: Knicks vs Celtics”

  1. Breen and Clyde are the best. Hands down. Anyone with League Pass can confirm.

    That was a horrible call.

  2. Looks like one of those nights where I hope a Knicks player punches a ref in the face, the ejection would be well worth it.

  3. AA’s like the girl with the curl. But when he’s bad he’s very, very bad.

    And Fisher should take notice .

  4. I think giving Grant more minutes is a good idea, but it’s probably going to lead to more losing this season.

  5. That was not an ideal lineup to start the 2nd quarter.

    That was not an ideal lineup for a basketball game

    There I fixed

  6. Entering this game, Lance Thomas is the Knicks’ best 3-point shooter at 42%. Who would have called that to start the year?

  7. Vujacrap on Fire! Knicks are so fucked when he leaves for that max contract in the off-season.

  8. So bad play = Fisher’s fault

    Good play = Fisher gets bailed out

    I’m not sure logic works that way.

  9. Entering this game, Lance Thomas is the Knicks’ best 3-point shooter at 42%. Who would have called that to start the year?

    Literally not one single person on this entire planet.

  10. Fellas, this is really getting tiresome. Knicks have a bad stretch, Fisher sucks. Enough already.

  11. It is. Silliness, lack of reason, and an apparent disdain for logic tend to complicate things for lots of people actually.

    It’s like trying to make sense of that crazy uncle’s ramblings about how a hurricane is Obama’s fault.

  12. Man, what would this Celtics offense be without Isaiah Thomas? He’s like a tiny (taller than me) engine.

  13. Grant Seraphin Sasha Williams Lance equals a bad lineup. Fisher is coaching poorly when he plays them together.

    Still too complicated?

  14. League Pass on Roku NBA app tonight has no video. Screen says: DCP unauthorized. Content disabled.

    Yeah, I’m paying for this.

  15. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t you the guy who tried arguing that Seraphin was actually good and has a “good NBA body?” It’s kinda hard to take anything you say seriously after that.

    Try not to get too mad that a guy on the internet disagrees with you. It’s really very silly.

  16. Man, we’d be getting obliterated if Boston could hit some 3’s. This worries me for the 2nd half. They’re not going to keep shooting 0%.

  17. DRed, League Pass with the NBA app on Roku screws up a lot. The only one that works for me all the time is the one for Android. The PC/web version works most of the time; I’m watching it now.

  18. Way too sloppy with the ball that half. We’re mauling Boston on the glass, and they haven’t hit a 3, so we should be winning by more.

  19. How often does league pass fuck up?

    Not too often for me. I am on LP International though which migh perform a little different, although I doubt it. Watching the game on my phone during my lunch break as we speak.

  20. Melo is taking Crowder’s physical play personally and that’s a good thing.

    Yeah, and now Crowder is in foul trouble, which is excellent because he is very very good.

  21. Afflalo can’t keep up with Avery Bradley off the ball and it’s compromising the defense.

  22. Knicks slim playoff hopes are in danger of becoming non-existent by the end of this week.

  23. KP won his third straight Eastern Conference rookie of the month. We’re blessed to have him!

  24. Clyde is so right. Galloway continues to give the ball too soon to bigs on the break!

    He’s also overpenetrating at times, taking very tough layups. Needs to learn when to pull up.

  25. We kinda half to don’t we? Melo, Afflalo, and Rolo have been on the floor awhile nao.

  26. Afflalo with those 3 turnovers in under a min. Sign him to that max extension nao!

  27. box score sasha sasha actualy looks good.
    Is there any chance that we can and we will trade any of – serafin, early, thanasis for a second round pick?

  28. Just noticed another great suit from Derek Fisher. May not be the best coach, but definitely dapper.

  29. Good steal by Vujacrap, but he’s got a lot moar half court heaves he’s gonna have to chuck to be on that Afflalo level.

  30. Fish has got to look sharp if he’s gonna be stealing any moar of his ex-teammates old flames.

  31. I think its time to start focusing on draft prospects for the Knicks lottery pick since they aint making the playoffs. Oh wait thats right, they dont have their 1st rd pick this year.

  32. Oh man, 11 points is a lot to make up against this defense. Knick bench doesn’t measure up to Boston’s.

  33. Fish going to that always sexy Vujacrap-Afflalo tandem. Celtics have no chance nao.

  34. Grant is hopeless tonight and KP just not strong enough for Celts rougher play… Too stout it seems…

  35. Grant KP Sasha Lance and Arron is almost as bad as
    Seraphin Grant Williams Lance and Sasha was.

  36. Afflalo giving Bradley a taste of his own medicine. Bradley’s been wearing out the Bocker guards tonight.

  37. Fisher doesn’t realize that all of Turner’s midrange jumpers would have been thwarted by KP’s presence.

  38. Three and a half remaining and Zinger still sitting. Good call Fish, gotta save him for that game on Thursday.

  39. I don’t really feel the Celtics are good … They are a bunch of outcasts and young retreads. But Stevens has them playing stout handsy defense. And they’re opportunistic. … Knicks don’t play good enough D for long stretches

  40. If only the Knicks had a position where someone in charge could teach the players a defensive scheme. Nothing too crazy, just coaching them on positioning and switches. He’d have to be well dressed ofc, whoever heard of taking advice from a guy in a bad suit.

  41. Holy shit, how’d we lose? I could’ve sworn we had this thing blown out once Afflalo had those 3 quick turnovers followed up with those lazy heaves. Oh well!

  42. All this Fisher talk is ridiculous. The most notable thing he’s done as a coach is establish a real defensive scheme where they funnel the guards to Lopez while keeping the wings out at the three point line to contest shots. Fisher has plenty of flaws, but not having a defensive scheme isn’t one of them. Further, our defense isn’t bad because of Fisher’s scheme, it’s bad because we have unathletic players at pretty much every position and so have to opt for this conservative scheme to minimize the damage.

    Fisher is below-average to average as an in-game coach (leaning more toward the former) but he really, really, really doesn’t impact the game that much. Every team plays bad lineups. Steve Kerr plays Mo Speights, for God’s sake. What he can be blamed for is not giving the younger ones enough burn, but with our goal of trying to make the playoffs, I can see why there is pressure to not do so. It’s all too easy to critique from the outside looking in.

    Reub, wouldn’t the simpler, more empirically adequate explanation be that the Knicks just sucked? Or would that hurt your ability to uncharitably attribute the team’s flaws to a coach that is little more than a deck chair?

  43. Knicks had a chance to win. They outrebounded the Celtics and won the free throw battle. But they shoot poorly and were sloppy with the ball. No one on the bench had a positive +/-. Melo had a bad shooting night too. Boo.

  44. At least we can take solace that if the Knicks had to lose back to back games, it’s to the two of the historically greatest teams in the league, the 44-4 GS Warriors and the 28-22 Boston Celtics.

    We were beaten by the best! Nothing you can do but tip your cap and watch the Celtics ride off into the sunset with that two game winning streak.

  45. 4 of our starters shot 15-47

    But did the coach have to start them though? You’ve got to look at that.

  46. Further, our defense isn’t bad because of Fisher’s scheme, it’s bad because we have unathletic players at pretty much every position and so have to opt for this conservative scheme to minimize the damage.

    Yeah, this team has bad defenders pretty much throughout the lineup. Defensive rating-wise, only Porzingis has a very good one among the regulars in the rotation (a few others have decent enough numbers).

  47. The guards are the main culprits. They’re pretty bad across the board. Afflalo looks increasingly like a dud, and Calderon should be a backup, but Galloway isn’t exactly seizing his starting spot. Grant’s a ways away from maybe becoming a solid rotation guy.

  48. It’s pretty hard to lose by 8 pts when you hit 3 more 3pters, 7 more FT’s and grab 5 more rebs than the opposing team but the Knicks found a way to do so tonight.

  49. It’s pretty hard to lose by 8 pts when you hit 3 more 3pters, 7 more FT’s and grab 5 more rebs than the opposing team but the Knicks found a way to do so tonight.

    Well, we had 16 turnovers (vs. 10 for Boston), and I believe Breen said we gave up 8 offensive rebounds in the 4th quarter, which were all momentum killers.

  50. We lost in great part because of the 2 runs that the Celtics had while Fisher was playing his dud lineups. Boston gained at least 15 points on us during the short times that Fish had them out there. His game time decision making is subpar. I’ve given him credit for getting the team to play hard and for stressing defense but some of his bonehead lineups have been simply atrocious. Would anyone like to defend putting Seraphin Grant Sasha Williams and Lance out there together in a close game?

Comments are closed.