2021-22 Game Thread: Knicks vs. the Mostly Healthy Celtics

We got a rarity tonight! The Knicks host an actually mostly healthy team in the Boston Celtics, who are only missing Paxton Pritchard from their normal rotation.

The Knicks will continue to be without both of their main point guards and also Nerlens Noel, whose conditioning is an issue in his return from COVID protocols.

The Knicks are currently tied in the standings with the Celtics, so this is a big game in their push to move up the standings and get to the play-in game, at the very least (the bottom of the Eastern Conference is wide open right now, so the 7th seed is very attainable)!

Let’s go, Knicks!

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273 thoughts to “2021-22 Game Thread: Knicks vs. the Mostly Healthy Celtics”

  1. My two daughters are in section 108 about 10 rows up. Hopefully they will do better than this…

  2. Weak illegal screen call on Mitch, but it was nice to see him set a hard one in any event.

    We sure could use one of them point guards huh?

  3. I liked the Fournier contract which is now looking pretty dumb, but to be fair I was told we were playing the Celtics 82 times this year.

  4. “ We sure could use one of them point guards huh?”

    — Knicks fans every year since 1981

  5. Z-man:
    Well the ball moved…

    LOL

    Btw, under the radar Mitch had a terrible start to the game. What’s up with that? Easily beat on D multiple times, two TOs and a foul. Wake up, please.

  6. If the Knicks get swept in this home and home vs the Celtics the season is basically over and I’m someone who is not into selling and tanking but it would definitely be time to seriously start thinking about it.

  7. I’m supposed to only say nice things … so ill say that it was great to see them score 18 hard fought points … Randle and RJ look alive

  8. this 2nd unit without rose is shaky…iq is not a pg…should try deuce…move iq to sg…

  9. Burks runs into a wall of three C’s with arms up and tries to take a shot. SMH.

  10. Interesting that they advertised Scream the remake after those two Tatum threes. They are in my head.

  11. I can’t resist … the Celtics are not good … average at best … we are a bad team that can ne’er handle an inkling of defense …

  12. Was that Timothy Chalamet running the point for OKC in those TNT highlights? He’s from NY (and he speaks French), so … Leon?

  13. 0for 3 in one possession. When’s the last time grimes hit a 3 … Boston has 5 3 point field goals last 4 minutes

  14. Keep cool, we’re going to win this. They are in a back to back and already look gassed.

  15. In the “throw shit at the wall” department…am I crazy for thinking it might be worth giving Fournier a shot a point guard? Nothing else is working and he can at least get into the paint a bit.

  16. good to see thibs can still make sure we come into the big games with the requisite intensity….

  17. thenoblefacehumper: In the “throw shit at the wall” department…am I crazy for thinking it might be worth giving Fournier a shot a point guard? Nothing else is working and he can at least get into the paint a bit.

    Yes. As in yes, you are crazy. LOL

  18. cybersoze:
    Keep cool, we’re going to win this. They are in a back to back and already look gassed.

    I’m inclined to agree. 8/9 (89%) from beyond the arc will not be sustainable.

  19. Evan was like, “Guys, it’s my old team. I’m gonna play hard. I’m even gonna get rebounds. Who’s with me?” Randle and RJ were like, “Nah.”

  20. 1) This team is a lot better with one or both of its old, creaky kneed point guards

    2) It’s not great to a build a team that completely crumbles without one or both of its old, creaky kneed point guards

  21. fudge, the celts are shooting like 60% from the field, they just can’t miss…

    there may not even be any faux comeback coming with this game…

    i’m with soze though – we got them exactly where we want them…we’ll run them down the second half and win by at least five points or so…

  22. Geo: i’m with soze though – we got them exactly where we want them…we’ll run them down the second half and win by at least five points or so…

    I’m glad you’re with me, Geo. :)

  23. pepper:
    rj is a freaking mess

    This is what makes me lose faith in him, one good game, then the very next game he looks like a G-League player. Every time we think he’s figured it out, he takes 2 steps back once again. It’s getting really tiresome

  24. RJ can never tell if there will be an opening by the time he finishes his move. Plus, he never passes once he starts his move. Hence, he gets blocked more than anyone I can remember.

  25. My two daughters are in section 108 about 10 rows up.

    Oh, Z-Man, this was a big mistake.

  26. If we end the 3rd quarter in single digits, we’re going to win this. Let’s do it, team.

  27. Hubert: Oh, Z-Man, this was a big mistake.

    A gift from a boyfriend, I had nothing to do with it. Looking a bit better now tho!

  28. Why in hell do they go to the paint, not protecting the ball, against a very good shot-blocker?

  29. I mean rj is living breathing proof of the definition of insanity…van gundy just made a quip about it

  30. I understand people have different opinions about Randle and Obi but 29 and 5 respectively does not feel like the optimal minutes breakdown in this game

  31. thenoblefacehumper:
    I understand people have different opinions about Randle and Obi but 29 and 5 respectively does not feel like the optimal minutes breakdown in this game

    or … any game?

  32. A true thing that everyone seems to think I am lying about: I am enjoying seeing Julius Randle play well and be excited about it

  33. thenoblefacehumper:
    A true thing that everyone seems to think I am lying about: I am enjoying seeing Julius Randle play well and be excited about it

    Nobody thinks that. Everyone stipulates that any of us would rather be wrong if it means a Knicks player plays better than we thought.

  34. Celtics fans will tell you they’ve had a bunch of nightmare 4th quarters this season.

    Let’s hope that continues

  35. I missed it, two Williams on the floor and randle pounding his chest. HOW did they hit the floor?

  36. Z-man: A gift from a boyfriend, I had nothing to do with it. Looking a bit better now tho!

    Now, we’re going to win this in the 4th quarter and they’re going to love it.

  37. Who is Randle yelling at? The Invisible KBer at courtside?

    “I MEAN WHAT KIND OF USERNAME IS THAT ANYWAY?!”

  38. Is the energy and life draining out of the Celtics? Will the back to back and pressure get to them? Can we sustain this run? Will Thibs pull Obi after a spectacular tomahawk slam and doom our momentum? It’s a hard Knicks life. But it’s addictive.

  39. I’m glad I picked up Fournier in my fantasy league this morning for tonight’s game :)

  40. Good Julius is Bully-Ball Julius. Fournier is good for one thing: killing Celtics

  41. 9 three pointers.
    From the man that went scoreless against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
    This is fucking unbelievable.

  42. Barrett’s been the leaky defender … stay crisp bro!!! I feel like Dotson is a better option right now. Am I nuts … Barrett lost

  43. Max:
    10 three pointers.
    From the man that went scoreless against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
    This is fucking unbelievable.

    LOL! This is the comment of the night.

  44. I don’t get to see many games these days, so I appreciate the genuine comeback, even if watching RJ makes me wonder if he’ll even get a new contract

  45. I turned it off to watch Dunkirk. And the Knocks managed to salvage something from this too.

  46. I’m smelling a 3 overtime repeat of game one with the Celtics running out of gas and we squeak out a win.

  47. The haters say you can’t get the ball to your low usage, high efficiency center in a tight spot

  48. The haters say you can’t get the ball to your low usage, high efficiency center in a tight spot

    If that’s all RJ did this game, it would almost be enough

  49. Awesome screen roll initiation and assist there by RJ in huge down the stretch possession.

  50. Kemba

    That’s what I thought – coaching defense, odd considering he can’t play it

  51. I’m smelling a 3 overtime repeat of game one with the Celtics running out of gas and we squeak out a win.

    Uh oh

  52. When I saw Thibs talk to RJ at the end of the time out I said to myself, “He’s taking it!”

  53. Actually, Kemba was saying, “It’s all gonna come down to you, kid. Be ready.”

  54. Best Knicks game winning off the glass 3pter since Jamal Crawford at Houston in 2004.

  55. Knicks first buzzer beater since 2012

    (And there have probably been 10 during that time that beat us )

  56. I remember that 2004 Bucks comeback well, and this is definitely the much cooler win (and that Bucks comeback was really cool).

    Fuck the Celtics!

  57. E4 has a lot of these games in him. He just checks out for whatever reason. Maybe b/c Julius gives him the stink-eye. Maybe b/c the best place for baguettes and croissants in NYC (Maison Kayser) has gone bankrupt. Whatever. Thibs needs to unlock the secret.

  58. Honestly would love to see a playoff series with these two teams. We are both inconsistent, good play/bad play teams that always have drama in their games. But alas doubt we will least this season (maybe play-in)?

    Despite our sucky season the embrace by the whole team after RJs shot was great to see. RJ is flawed but easily a rootable player.

  59. A 25 points “real” comeback.

    A banked buzzer beater by a player that was 3-14 in the game.

    Fournier shattered his career high, 10-14 from 3 (and 1-3 at the line) plus season high in rebounds (8).

    Insane, just insane.

  60. KB Apprentice:
    E4 has a lot of these games in him. He just checks out for whatever reason. Maybe b/c Julius gives him the stink-eye. Maybe b/c the best place for baguettes and croissants in NYC (Maison Kayser) has gone bankrupt. Whatever. Thibs needs to unlock the secret.

    Well it’s a career high, so I’m pretty sure this is the only of these games in him

  61. When was the last time we won a game with a shot at the buzzer? I feel like it’s been forever

  62. I’m taking credit for this win as RJ clearly just wanted me to shut the hell up about him.

    Can’t complain about beating the Celtics under any circumstances, so I’ll just enjoy this one for what it is

  63. Early Bird: Well it’s a career high, so I’m pretty sure this is the only of these games in him

    Haha. You know what I mean. He should be getting ~18-20/night.

  64. DRed:
    When was the last time we won a game with a shot at the buzzer?I feel like it’s been forever

    JR Smith at Phoenix December 2012

  65. DRed:
    When was the last time we won a game with a shot at the buzzer?I feel like it’s been forever

    d-mar:
    Knicks first buzzer beater since 2012

    (And there have probably been 10 during that time that beat us )

    Not exactly a buzzer-beater, but Julius hit the winning shot with .3 secs left against the Wizards in the last preseason game. My son’s first Knicks game ;-)

  66. Evan, The Celtic Killer sounds nice. :D

    Said to a friend earlier, if literally all he does is play well against the Celtics…I mean, we’ve had worse contracts than that

  67. In fairness Melo has a few game winners since then but left a few secs on the clock, I think he even hit one at MSG with less than a second left. Alan Hahn believes this might be 1st buzzer beater at MSG since David Lee’s tip in. I remember Marbury that same season hit a layup at the buzzer for the win too.

  68. cyber soze – single handedly willing us to victory :)

    i’ll be honest though, there was a time there in the 3rd when i had some doubts, didn’t get nervous though until we took the lead…go RJ…

    okay then – if rotten balls can play like this consistently, he can be evian again…

  69. In fairness Melo has a few game winners since then but left a few secs on the clock, I think he even hit one at MSG with less than a second left. Alan Hahn believes this might be 1st buzzer beater at MSG since David Lee’s tip in. I remember Marbury that same season hit a layup at the buzzer for the win too.

    Yeah, I think buzzer beaters are just rare period. Which is why it is insane that DeRozan had back-to-back buzzer beater threes recently.

  70. IQ has had higher scoring games, but that might have been the best game of his career in terms of bringing it at both ends

  71. I asked Julius Randle what he meant with his thumbs down to the Garden crowd.His answer: "Shut the fuck up."— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) January 7, 2022

    Hate to be a wet blanket but this situation could get ugly

  72. Agree, IQ’s defense was huge and then he made some critical shots. I liked when Julius beasted and sent two C’s to the hardwood. As a bonus, my girls sent me a selfie with the fat guy from the Bing Bong video!

  73. Win or lose, we need a Quickley game for our sanity

    i never liked the term “ruff ryder” regarding player ability, it seems to allow for a good bit of low basketball iq play – however, quik sure does seem like a “gamer” type player out there…that’s a trip dice and then thibs picked that up from him 2 years ago and thought it would translate to the nba…

    It’s a hard Knicks life

    soon to be my next username…

  74. I feel like it’s entirely possible Evan Fournier’s career averages are skewed by one incredible game out of 20, and that his mean numbers look considerably worse.

  75. Hate to be a wet blanket but this situation could get ugly

    Yeah, oooph, not cool, Julius.

  76. Hubert:
    I feel like it’s entirely possible Evan Fournier’s career averages are skewed by one incredible game out of 20, and that has his mean numbers look considerably worse.

    Maybe, but if he only plays like that against the Celtics, his contract is a wash for me.

  77. Maybe, but if he only plays like that against the Celtics, his contract is a wash for me.

    Seriously, fuck the Celtics.

  78. Brian Cronin: Seriously, fuck the Celtics.

    Besides the obvious joy of beating the Celtics in gutwrenching fashion on any occasion, this game has huge repercussions for positioning in the standings. And it could be argued that we are very similar teams, which would have been unimaginable just a couple of years ago.

  79. News flash: 3pt shooters go hot and cold. Remember how we didn’t have anyone that could shoot a 3?

  80. Fournier a very respectable 20.5 PPG over the last two games…

    Didn’t someone say he should be averaging 18-20 per?

  81. Raven:
    Fournier a very respectable 20.5 PPG over the last two games…

    Didn’t someone say he should be averaging 18-20 per?

    Wait, is that statistics? ;-)

  82. Raven: Well it’s not quite lies or damned lies…

    Nice. And, yes, we should give every day the chance to be E4’s career high game …

  83. I wouldn’t know how to even start recapping this game. I mean Alec Burks goes 1-10 but has 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Did Randle suck or did he play well? (answer: yes) Was RJ the worst fucking player on the floor by a country mile and also the hero? (answer: yes) Even Fournier, he had an 0-fer just two days ago.

    Schizophrenic game. And team.

  84. Knew the comment thread would be absolutely hilarious after this one. What a game!

    Are you not entertained??!!! Also I lol’ed at Julius cursing out his own fans after scoring a layup. Anyway, great win. Who’s next uo for their career game? Julius? IQ?

  85. From Berman/Post: “When asked Wednesday whether he felt unappreciated by the fans, Randle said: ‘Really don’t give a f–k what anybody has to say, to be honest. I’m out there playing. Nobody knows the game out there better than I do, compared to what everybody has to say.'”

    Ruh roh.

  86. Lol Randle reads KB

    Julius Can I hold 50 bucks until next Friday I will pay you back as soon as I can dawg

  87. And it could be argued that we are very similar teams, which would have been unimaginable just a couple of years ago.

    Boy, did the Celtics fuck their shit up. They have two young All-Stars and they’re now basically no different than the Knicks now. Hilarious.

  88. Dude could be a bust and out of the league by 25, I do not care, we get this highlight of the Celtics getting body slammed in the Garden forever

  89. Farfa should come out of recap retirement for this one…

    hmmmm, knew your knicks has been missing in action for a while now…i hope they’re both well…

    the thing with randle going at the fans may not end so well…new york ain’t really the place for that kind of animosity, particularly if you don’t play well…let’s hope he backs up his ‘tude and stops fumbling, bumbling and stumbling his way to four to six turnovers a night, stops walking the ball up the court and plays hard on defense…

    who knows, maybe it just proves he really cares…

    and maybe that’s what he needs to get himself going at this stage in life…can’t say how i’d react to people talking shit to me while i was at work…

  90. I don’t know if our international crowd completely understands how satisfying it is for a New York team to beat a Boston team. It doesn’t matter if it’s baseball, basketball, football, hockey, or a bunch of toddlers in a crawling race, when it comes to Boston vs New York there will be yelling, cursing and an absolution of all other sins if New York wins. Biiiiinnnnnngggggg Boooonnnnggggg!!!!!!! On these momentous occasions, every player, coach, and fan up to where Z-man’s daughters were sitting gets an A .

    RJ Barrett: RJ may have given the worst single game performance I’ve ever seen in a basketball game at any level. He started 0-7 from the field. He got blocked on 4 separate occasions by one player. Celtics torched him all night on defense. RJ found spectacular ways to look like shit and help the Knicks lose for 47min and 58.5 seconds. But in that last 1.5 seconds, RJ shot a 3pter off an inbounds pass, turned around while fading right, and released the ball over the outstretched hands of Jaysom Tatum. The ball hit glass. RJ Barrett fell down. RJ didn’t see the ball go in, but it did go in. It was the first Knicks buzzer beater since 2012. A

    Ryan Arcidiacono (if that’s his name idk): Signed a 10-day contract. Immediately sprained his ankle. May not ever play for the Knicks. A

    Denzel Valentine: Was traded for and immediately cut, was not on the Knicks roster tonight. A

    Julius Randle: Reverted to his missing ways before hitting some shots in the 3rd and 4th. A

    Evan Fournier: Hit every goddamn shot he took. Set career highs with 10 threes and 41 points. In 3 contests against the Celtics, he’s tied his career high in points twice and set a new career high once. But most impressive is the rebound repulsing rays Evan Fournier usually emits were switched to attract 8 boards. A

    IQ: He’s had better games but has never looked more composed. He hit contested runners in the lane, he circled the paint a la Steve Nash. Made the right play. A

  91. Speaking of Knicks PTSD on buzzer beaters, I swear that I couldn’t celebrate properly until I saw the replay and was sure that it beat the buzzer. Remember the Amare shot? The KP shot?

    This fuckng team.

  92. The Randle sitch is gonna be a thing… since we’re all bastards coupled with his emotional fragility… I’m not optimistic

  93. I interpret Randle’s mental meltdown as very helpful data points in further interpreting his monumental playoff collapse.(*)

    Obviously, he can’t be alpha-ing my basketball team.

    (*) And it adds to the lack of doubt that the empty buildings helped him last year in very significant (and kind of strange) ways.

  94. Mets fans were also FURIOUS with Javy Baez for the same nonsense for about a week, and then they began cheering him raucously as he began playing better. And he’s one of many New York athletes to have ridden a similar roller coaster over the years.

    Picking fights with the fans is never a good idea, but if Randle puts together a consistent stretch of basketball, nobody is going to care.

  95. Yeah, but Javy Baez doesn’t have a playoff choke for the ages on his resume.

  96. E, call me crazy, but I’m starting to read between the lines of your many comments and wonder if perhaps you don’t like Julius Randle’s game.

  97. It’s bad enough that he’s sweating … but to then let everyone see him sweat?

  98. E, all merc’d out:
    It’s bad enough that he’s sweating … but to then let everyone see him sweat?

    No bueno … I’m personally offended but I’m not apologizing to Julius until he puts that nice stretch together… Julius got paid … heavy lies the crown

  99. As long as he doesn’t do anything obscene, who cares? He is a human being. He’s going to react. If it makes him play better, great!

  100. It takes thick skin to play in NYC*, and JuRan has yet to show it. That said if he channels his anger into bully ball best mode like he did in the second half last night ( with 0 turnovers!), let him rage on. The advice Ime Udoka gave to Tatum about not holding the ball for more than two seconds applies with equal force to Randle.
    As to E4, he he seemed to play without the tentativeness to shoot that has characterized his play most of the season, and the results of his let-it-rip attitude speak for themselves. Ditto for IQ.
    *It could be worse, if he was playing in Philly, the fans would never forgive him.

  101. Kudos to Macri for managing the last evidence of Julius Randle maturity with an adult and calm response.

    I’m not so forgiving (or adult, or calm) and I’ll gladly give him other motivations to play better every time he’ll play like shit.

    The best thing in Randle’s game last night were the zero turnovers, in the second half he played exactly how we want him to do, bully ball and open threes.

    But this game would never be won without Fournier’s resurrection, IQ and Gibson.

  102. If I’m Randle, I’d be fed up with NY fans too. He’s gone from scapegoat to savior and back to scapegoat. It’s gotta suck.

    And Randle got paid. But he also didn’t really get paid, paid.

  103. Early Bird:
    I don’t know if our international crowd completely understands how satisfying it is for a New York team to beat a Boston team. It doesn’t matter if it’s baseball, basketball, football, hockey, or a bunch of toddlers in a crawling race, when it comes to Boston vs New York there will be yelling, cursing and an absolution of all other sins if New York wins.

    I’m into it like a born newyorker :-)
    Eli Manning shitting on the Pats’ undefeated season AND kicking their asses in the rematch,
    Boone’s and Bucky’s homeruns,
    Bernard defending our turf in the 1984 playoffs, are all on my shortlist of best sports moments,
    The 2004 ALCS’s in the top-10 worst…

  104. Alan: Picking fights with the fans is never a good idea, but if Randle puts together a consistent stretch of basketball, nobody is going to care.

    GHenman: As long as he doesn’t do anything obscene, who cares? He is a human being. He’s going to react. If it makes him play better, great!

    Bo Nateman: That said if he channels his anger into bully ball best mode like he did in the second half last night ( with 0 turnovers!), let him rage on.

    Exactly, exactly and exactly. We just want him to care, to play hard, to do whatever is needed to make the team better. If he does that, all will be good.

  105. I mean, I kind of get it. Randle was the reason we were good last year and that was the first good season in a decade? And then he starts off this year playing poorly but he is hardly the only reason the team has struggled. I mean, have the fans been booing Fournier like they have Randle?

    The other night against The Pacers people were chanting “RJ BARRETT” while Randle was shooting a free throw! I don’t even think that was meant as a slight against Randle, people were just pumped RJ was having a good game. But still, I’d be like “STFU while I shoot a free throw!” I’ve always found even the “MVP” chants while you’re own player is shooting a free throw to be beyond stupid. Like you yell and make noise when the opposing team shoots a free throw. When its your player, be quiet so they’re more likely to make it!

    But that’s NYC for you and hopefully Randle can just process that and eventually not be bothered by it. I mean, fans used to give Ewing so much shit and he was literally a hall of fame player and led the team through a decade of really good basketball.

    But still…I think booing individual players on your own team is kind of lame. Like boo the whole team when they play like garbage. Fine. But singling out one player. I don’t know. It seems petty and mean to me for no reason. Especially when Randle did so much last year and resigned at a good price.

  106. Early Bird: I don’t know if our international crowd completely understands how satisfying it is for a New York team to beat a Boston team. It doesn’t matter if it’s baseball, basketball, football, hockey, or a bunch of toddlers in a crawling race, when it comes to Boston vs New York there will be yelling, cursing and an absolution of all other sins if New York wins. Biiiiinnnnnngggggg Boooonnnnggggg!!!!!!!

    When i started to follow the Knicks, in 1991, the Celtics weren’t good, so i didn’t have any animosity towards them. I had animosity towards the Pacers and the Heat. Pacers has waned since then, except for Miller, i hate that guy. To win against the Heat always cheers me up, so this one stayed. And since i read this blog, i think i started around 2014, the “love” for the Celtics has been growing up, so now i’m like a new yorker on this, it’s the most important games of the year. :D

  107. Maybe Randle has been telling us who he is this whole time and no one is listening. Maybe instead of everyone waiting for him to “mature” into our poised leader like a LeBron 2.0, we should just accept that he’s a volatile, inconsistent, mercurial head case who misses free throws at the end of close games and shouts at fans. And maybe that’s fine. When Randle goes well, it’s great, but when leadership is needed, we should get him out of the way in favor of others. Already RJ, IQ, E4 (last night, anyway) definitely DRose, Burks (on most nights) all show more poise and give me more confidence they will do the right thing with the ball at crunch time. In fact, our inconsistency as a team overall may stem from our cooler-headed players always feeling the need to defer to a guy who is really more like Draymond Green (mentally) than he is like Steph or Klay or Durant or Harden or etc. IDK. Maybe Randle does put it all together (as a leader), but maybe our team could be way better if the contrived narrative around him shifted a bit. Even Randle might enjoy being “the weird one” instead of always having to be “Daddy.”

  108. who is really more like Draymond Green (mentally)

    I was reading your post and writing in my head my objections to it until I read this part, which really resonated with me.

    Dray is the emotional leader of that team. But Steph is the leader leader. Or to put it another way. Steph is the brains and Dray is the heart. And good teams have that dynamic usually. Maybe Randle is more of the heart guy. A guy who plays tough, gets boards, punishes teams with his brutal offensive game and gets the team pumped up with his overall play. But maybe RJ (or a future star that we acquire somehow) is the brains. The calm and collected guy on the court who is unflappable and can hit that dagger shot or make that play under pressure. Draymond is an amazing player but he did cost the Warriors a championship in 2016 with his emotional play. But I’m sure all warrior fans are fine with that because of all the other championships he helped them win.

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