New York 101 Boston 77

Just 6 days after an embarrassing defeat at home, the New York Knicks got revenge on the road. Last night in Boston, the Knicks beat the Celtics 101-77 avenging their 122-118 loss at home last Saturday. The road to victory came in the second half as the Knicks went into a 2-3 zone defense which stymied their opponents. Unlike the first game, the zone kept the Celtics on the perimeter. Ryan Gomes who had 6 offensive rebounds and 10 of his 22 points from the free throw line in the first matchup, failed to record an offensive rebound and didn’t make it to the charity strip once. Last week Telfair and Pierce hit 26 free throws combined, but only managed 4 last night. Not only did the Knicks defense disrupt the Celtics inside game, but they prevented Boston from connecting from downtown. New York presented a team effort in the zone, constantly running at shooters and switching in unison. Despite having deadly outside shooters like Wally Szczerbiak and Paul Pierce, Boston only managed 4 of 21 from three point land (19%). On the night the Celtics only shot 40.8% (eFG%) as a team.

Meanwhile on the other end of the court, Isiah Thomas’ “quick” offense looked as good as it’s ever been. Eddy Curry provided the inside muscle, and had his best game of the 2007 season. Curry shot 8 of 12 for 21 points, and seemingly toyed with the Celtics in the paint. Eddy also pulled down 10 boards, his third best total of the year. Steve Francis continually broke down the Celtics’ defense. While he only made 3 of his 8 attempts, Francis hit all 15 of his free throws to lead New York with 22 points. Meanwhile Richardson got off the schneid with 17 points, and David Lee almost recorded his first career triple double (11 pts, 13 rebs, 8 ast).

This win comes after the Knicks allowed the Timberwolves a 17 point first quarter lead, and right behind a home & road matchup against the Bulls.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

23 thoughts to “New York 101 Boston 77”

  1. One thing I didn’t mention, the Celtics lack of a post presense really helped the Knicks’ zone defense. It allowed the Knicks to stay on the perimeter shooters. Additionally Gomes, who was a big asset in the first contest, turned into a liability against the zone. He did have one play where he blew right past Eddy, but for the most part the Knicks ignored him in the zone, daring Gomes to beat them. Gomes did attempt a jump shot which he missed (IIRC).

  2. Your headline infers the Cets drubbed the Knicks; that’s gonna happen enough in reality, we don’t need typos of that fashion!

    Still, Marbury and Francis are too much of the same guy; if one has a good night, the other is silent, as they both need to do the same thing; penetrate. I’m not sure how they’re going to solve that, unless Isaiah can convince them to take turns!

  3. It figures.

    After watching the 2nd half of the game at Minnesota, where I was embarassed to the point of considering just being done altogether with the Knicks, they turn in a solid defensive effort on a night I choose to catch up on some reading.

    Not having seen the game KB, my question is this. Do you think Thomas will turn to the zone as the base defense? My concern with that is that while it can cut down on penetration, it exposes another Knick weakness–keeping people off the defensive boards.

  4. “Still, Marbury and Francis are too much of the same guy; if one has a good night, the other is silent, as they both need to do the same thing; penetrate. I?m not sure how they?re going to solve that, unless Isaiah can convince them to take turns!”

    In general, the pattern that seems to be emerging here is that Marbury takes more of the passive, ball-moving role while Francis takes more of the aggressive, attacking mode. It’s not an ideal utilization of their combined talents, but it’s at least an improvement over last season. In fact, while Marbury’s sublimated game has yielded a measily 11.15 PER, Francis’s PER is actually quite strong at 18.61.

  5. I doubt if Isiah will use the zone as the primary option on D from here on out. It seemed more a case of something that was working well last night, so there was no need to deviate from it. (NY didn’t start using zone heavily till partway through the game.) But (judging from last night and scraps of previous games) the team does seem more comfortable sliding and moving as one zoned unit than playing a more traditional man/help defensive scheme.

  6. dave,

    He might – but again it’ll only work on teams that aren’t able to deal with it. Funny thing is the Knicks are one of those teams, becuase they lack an outside shooter. So when the Knicks practice, Isiah might see the zone working against his own team and think it’ll work against everyone. Casey Stengel once had a catcher (forgot the name) that couldn’t hit the curveball. So when the catcher was behind the plate, he called the curveball too often, applying his own weakness to that of his opponents.

    I’m not 100% sure on this, but I think Isiah goes to the zone once the bench guys are in. I don’t know if it’s Lee, Crawford, Nate, or the combination of the three that spurs the decision. I’ll have to pay closer attention to it next time.

  7. re Marbury & Francis – you’re right on that one. The odd thing about Marbury is that he’s painted as a selfish player, but this year he’s done everything his coach/team has asked. Stephon seems to be willing to buy into Isiah’s offense. Watch him when he doesn’t have the ball. He’s always eyeing were to go & trying to keep the spacing even on the floor. Marbury seems more focused and willing to defer to his teammates.

    His defense has improved, although he still has trouble with the uber quick guards (although most guards do – that’s what interior defense is for). One thing I’ve noticed is that Marbury’s defense gets much better in the zone. Last night the commentators noted that Marbury rotated to Pierce “at about 100 mph”.

  8. Yeah, Steph has impressed the hell out of me this season with his unselfish play, but I dunno, while they’re up big, it’s all good, but in a close game, he SHOULD be one of the best options at getting a score – but not when he hasn’t been trying to score the entire game!!

    So yeah – Marbury and Francis are just creepy as a combo, as the yin to each other’s yang.

  9. While KBlogger is right about Steph&Stevie,the main focus for those 2 should be to know how to feed our bigs properly and when to do so.Boston’s lack of an inside presence showed us what they could be in the future.Curry and Frye need to be fed down low for this team to be effective.Having low post options makes a good offensive team better.If we had a deadly outside shooter{A.Houston,the’99 version,Ray Allen,M.Redd}the offense would be open all the way around.If the defense stops 1 aspect,the other aspects open up.Right now,I think that until the trading deadline,#1&#3 should just continue what they’re doing,one defers,the other attacks and so on.Neither is tradable now.It seems Curry especially,needs to be force-fed down low to keep in the game.However this is also a sign that his maturity needs to grow,by focusing on Dfense & Rebounding to stay in the game.The “Fat Man” as L.Johnson calls them,taught to him by Coach Aguirre,is starting to pan out for Curry & Frye.They looked like Xperienced low-post players against poor big men last night.But,will they be able to do this against better big men is the REAL QUESTION????? As a hopeful Knick fan,I really hope so!!!!!

  10. Maybe we should just count on David Lee continuing his string of 8 assist games, a la the Knicks’ Luke Walton. It’s too late probably to teach Marbury and Francis (and Robinson and Crawford) how to pass correctly, but maybe Lee can do it!

  11. Steph looked pretty upset tonight against Chicago, he took no shots at all. I’m not sure he can keep that up, but i think he should get his credits because they are due. He is playing hard, and not turning the ball over, which is worthy of playing minutes. Maybe he and francis should not be on the floor at the same time, but they can both play.

    Marbury has been here since before Francis, and is a better player in my opinion so i think he should be given ever oppurtunity to sucseed that steve is.

  12. After the Minnesota game i love Isiah’s reasoning of restoring the line-up because the bench players simplely play better when they are on the bench. Some players just play better off the bench (Ben Gordon, Bobby Jackson espiecially when he was on the Kings to name a couple). When JJ comes back they should probably move Q to the 2 and keep their bench intact. He would’ve fit in amazingly well against the Bulls but thats for another time.

  13. Sorry about the back-to-back-to-back posts but i forgot to say we do have deadly outside shooters, Q has the record for most in a season and Jamal is solid as long as he takes 3-5 steps behind the line with only a couple seconds left.

  14. Marbury and Frances do not play particularly well together but then again neither does Marbury/Crawford or Marbury/Robinson. Last years starting duo for most of the year was Marbury/Crawford which was not good and the game against the Wolves the other day did not look any better. So far Isiah has had a golden rule about keeping Marbury in the starting lineup but it may be time for a change. I appreciate that Marbury is trying to play within the offense more and play better defense but in doing so he has all but disappeared in scoring. It is easy to say he needs more time to figure our where to pick his spots to be aggressive and score and when to get others to contribute, but he has been in the league for 10+ years and should have figured this out already. Isn’t that what a point guard is supposed to do? The worst part is the uncertainty with him as one day he doesn’t score much and the team is limited but then the next day he says he wants to be “Starbury” and hogs the ball, doesn’t get anybody involved and the team does even worse. I would be interested in seeing if a Francis/Crawford or Francis/Robinson starting backcourt could possibly produce better results. I would be hopeful but not optimistic.

    Also, it looks like things are about to get worse with Frye going down with an ankle injury just as he was starting to play well. David Lee should get more playing time which is much deserved. I hope he can keep up his great play and make the most of the opportunity on the court.

  15. I don’t know if Marbury is unusually sensitive or just losing his skills rapidly, but whatever his excuse, he has to put up better results than he has. If he can’t, then he should sit. Francis’ game is a bit awkward, but he’s still getting his typical rebounds, assists and free throws to go along with his maddening dribbling. If Marbury sulks to this extent every time the game doesn’t revolve around him, decent human being or not, he should really be benched. He’s not Lebron or Jordan, no one EVER thought a team should be built around him.

    Of course, if both Q-Rich and Frye are out, it is interesting, as we can test the Knicks’ deepness; Balkman might get sizeable minutes, which I’m certainly curious about, and Lee will start, so we’ll see how not coming off the bench affects him. The Q-Rich injury, while bad, is probably easier to counteract as the Knicks love 3-guard offenses anyway and now Thomas can do it without hurting anyone’s feelings about playing time.

    And I guess Jerome James will get some more play, too! Should be fun!!!

  16. That loss last night hurt because it was against Chicago and also because we should’ve come from behind to win…what the hell happend?

    HOw about BALKMAN!?!
    I’m looking forward to seeing him play more minutes with Frye and Jeffries injured…I think that was the best 1/4 of basketball by any Knick all season, too bad he won’t see the light of day when Jeffries is healthy.

  17. Balkman was unbelievable last night. But from the scouting report that’s what you’d expect from him. Fantastic some nights, invisible others. Balkman’s strength is in a fast pace, where his inability to hit a jumper is minimized. Although last night he did hit a three pointer (in three attempts). It looks like he’s trying to develop the Bowen-corner three. Renaldo was, to use a Clyde-ism, omnipresent. 13 rebounds, 3 blocks, 10 points.

    It’s funny there is this thought that you can’t rebuild in New York, because the fans would revolt and not accept a loser. Looking at the Knicks roster the Knick fans love the rookies: Lee, Nate, and Balkman, and despise most of the high priced acquirees.

  18. Suddenly this team is desperate for a player over 6’8″. Considering the rotation at PF/C currently consists of Curry, Lee, and Balkman (and no, I don’t want Jerome James getting pt. He’s lousy — comically lousy, but lousy nonetheless). Since Malik Rose looks like he’s going go be getting 10-15 mpg until Jeffries/Frye comes back, it’d be nice to pick up a guy over 6’9″ who can rebound a little and guard the 4 spot.

    SIDE NOTE: You know who’d be nice to have on the roster right about now? JACKIE FREAKING BUTLER! ARGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!! Beg pardon. I continue…

    The Williams/Admunsen duo (formerly of Sacto) is still available, but a vet’d be nicer. Any thoughts? What about trying to get Sweetney back? Elton Brown (who tolied for us in camp)? Oddly enough, Mo T, who I thoroughly advocated releasing, would do just fine in this capacity…

  19. I think Jackie Butler would be a nice player to have on the roster, but Mo Taylor are you crazy? He is exactly what the knicks dont want, a lazy, selfish, uninspire, undersized pf. You forget about Cato, and why cant they find somebody in europe. The knicks play in New York City the most diverse city IN THE WORLD. Guess how many international players are on there team? None (But we do have a white guy). Lets find somebody outside of a big name college, maybe a big man who can shoot and hustles.

    Lets look at teams with some very good international Players:
    Jazz, Spurs, Mavs, Rockets, Golden State (Maybe a reach but they have some wingmen and that center). Those are the 5 best teams in the league this year.

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