In the first game of the regular season, the Celtics defeated the Knicks 108-104 on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
With 34 points to lead all players, 11 rebounds (tying Julius Randle for the game’s most), four assists, two steals, and a block, Jayson Tatum packed the stat sheet. In his Celtics debut, Kristaps Porzingis scored the most points ever with eighteen (15) made shots, five made threes, and ten free throws made. He also pulled down a game-high four blocks and eight rebounds.
Nine of the visitors’ last 15 points came from the former All-Star, who also showed signs of improving Boston’s late-game offense by shooting 6/6 from the free-throw line. “It’s important to show what my mindset is in tight games like this, and, probably, showing them that I’ll be there and do what I can on both ends, “It’s important to show what my mindset is in tight games like this, and, probably, showing them that I’ll be there and do what I can on both ends. And I think today was a good step for us to build that trust.” The Celtics’ next goal is to defeat the Miami Heat in their home opening on Friday night.
As Al Horford stated on Thursday, “Friday night at the Garden, it doesn’t get any better than that.” Regarding whether there’s any carryover from the Heat ending Boston’s season on its home floor in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the former Florida Gator told Inside The Celtics, “We’ve talked about that, but I’m excited to see what this group and what we’re gonna get to do tomorrow.”
The fact that no one is listed as injured for Friday’s game, similar to Wednesday night in New York, will help Horford and the hosts obtain a fair assessment of their squad. Regarding Miami, Haywood Highsmith (knee) and Josh Richardson (foot) are sidelined. Caleb Martin (knee tendinitis), Jaime Jaquez Jr. (groin strain), and Duncan Robinson (foot sprain) are likely candidates.
The Celtics and Heat will tip off at 7:30 p.m. EST on Friday.