Kemba Walker looked good physically in his season debut but that’s about all the good news that came out of this Sunday matinee for the C’s. Faced with a minutes limit of 20, Walker showed plenty of rust while posting nine points on 3-of-13 shooting from the field. He added five turnovers, four assists and three steals before departing after taking a hard shot to the ribs from Nerlens Noel. That dismal shooting effort from Walker was par for the course for the entire Celtics roster on Sunday as the hosts delivered arguably their worst effort in the Brad Stevens era. Julius Randle had a team-high 20 points and 12 rebounds for a desperate Knicks team that came into town dealing with a five-game losing streak. They outshot, out hustled and outworked Boston over 48 minutes, ending the C’s five-game winning streak by what was nearly a wire-to-wire blowout win.
First Half Notes
The Knicks went on a 9-0 run midway through the second quarter, pushing a six-point lead back into double bigs after the Celtics offense started to sputter again, going scoreless for over four straight minutes.
Kemba Walker: The All-Star looked rusty but had more energy than any of his teammates in the first 24 minutes. He scored eight points and dished out three assists in 11 minutes, trying to make things happen on any otherwise lethargic team
Jaylen Brown: The athletic wing continued his strong scoring streak, scoring a game-high 13 points in the first half, nearly half of Boston’s first half production.
Turnovers: The Celtics piled up 11 in the first half alone, leading to 12 points for the Knicks with sloppy passes and ball security that a hungry visiting squad was able to take advantage of.
Defensive rebounding: Two days after the Magic had their way on the offensive glass, the Knicks picked up where they left off. New York’s big front line scored 11 second chance points in the first half on eight offensive rebounds as the Celtics struggled to box out and match the Knicks’ strength advantage.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 17, 2021
WHO: Celtics (8-3) vs. Knicks (5-8)
WHEN: 1:00 EST
WHERE: TD Garden
RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub
TV: NBC Sports Boston
Projected Starting Lineups:
G: Marcus Smart
G: Kemba Walker
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Grant Williams
C: Tristan Thompson
G: Elfrid Payton
G: Reggie Bullock
SF: RJ Barrett
PF: Julius Randle
C: Mitchell Robinson