The Boston Celtics chose to play all of their top dogs Tuesday night against the Knicks.
New York, meanwhile, rested most of theirs.
That was the first Key Moment of the day, which suggested that the second Key Moment was all but inevitable.
Boston’s top eight were locked in from the opening tip and turned the first half into a laugher while dropping 41 points during the opening frame. That high-output offense featured an 8-0 run to close the quarter out, which gave the C’s a 41-29 lead.
The Celtics were clearly the better team, and their new dynamic scoring trio paced their electric offense. Kristaps Porzingis scored 10 points during the first quarter, while Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum each scored eight. Boston shot 55.6 percent from the field and 56.2 percent from long range during the frame.
Boston went on to score nine of the first 12 points of the second quarter as well to pull ahead 50-33. That lead soon grew to as many as 27 during the period to all but put the game away.
While New York did claw back to within eight points during the third quarter, the C’s responded with nine straight points for the final nail in the Knicks’ coffin. Boston went on to close out the win by a count of 123-110.
Jayson Tatum was in midseason form Tuesday night while dropping a preseason-high 28 points on the New York Knicks.
Tatum was hot from all over the floor, as he shot 9-of-15 from the field, 5-for-8 from long range and a perfect 5-for-5 from the free-throw line. Tatum’s shot chart was near-perfect, as all but one of his attempts were from beyond the arc or at the rim.
Just as he does throughout the regular season, Tatum went well beyond scoring on this night. He also tied for the team high in rebounds with eight, dished out four assists, led the team in steals with three, and blocked one shot. And he did all of this in less than 30 minutes of action.
So, as we said: Tatum was in midseason form tonight.
Box Score Nuggets
Boston scored 78 points during the first half while making 16 shots from long range.
Both teams attempted 20 free throws.
Jayson Tatum led the game in scoring with 28 points.
Quentin Grimes led New York with 22 points.
Boston’s largest lead was 27 points.
Jaylen Brown tied for the game high in assists with six, while also scoring 17 points.
Kristaps Porzingis totaled 20 points and eight rebounds.
The Celtics dished out 26 assists, while the Knicks totaled 25.
Sam Hauser led all reserves with 15 points.
Quote of the Night
“I really like where our guys are at mentally.”
– Joe Mazzulla on Boston’s mindset as a team