The New York Knicks were able to outlast the Boston Celtics, despite a sloppy game that saw both teams shoot over 50% from the field. This was the first time in NBA history that two teams have shot over 50% from the field.
The celtics vs knicks 2020 was a wild and sloppy game. New York Knicks outlast Boston Celtics in wild, albeit sloppy, double overtime victory.
2:00 a.m. ET
ESPN’s Tim Bontemps
NEW YORK (WABC) — When the Knicks grabbed a four-point lead with nine seconds left in the season opener against the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night, it seemed like the home club was on the brink of a feel-good victory to kick off Kemba Walker’s Knicks career.
The Knicks did, in fact, win the game; it just wasn’t in the manner everyone had predicted.
New York won 138-134 after a frantic last nine seconds of regulation, which featured the Celtics making two 3-pointers in the final five ticks of the clock to tie the game, and two furious overtimes, pulling a win from the jaws of what would’ve been an agonizing season-opening loss.
“At the end of the day, the positive thing is we won,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said.
New York, on the other hand, had to put in a lot more effort than it seemed.
The problem began when Evan Fournier, another former Celtic starter in the Knicks’ backcourt, broke loose for a basket with nine seconds left to extend New York’s lead to 114-110, sending the passionate fans inside MSG into a jubilant frenzy in expectation of a victory.
The Celtics were within a point when Jaylen Brown, who ended with 46 points, sank a 28-foot 3-pointer. The idea was for the Knicks to foul after Julius Randle made a pair of free throws to extend the Knicks’ lead back to 116-113 with 4.9 seconds left — and with Boston having no timeouts.
Ime Udoka, who was coaching his first regular-season game for Boston, stated afterward, “We had a play where we wanted to catch Jayson [Tatum] going on the move.”
However, the plan backfired as Tatum tripped and collapsed after grabbing the inbounds ball. The Knicks players stopped instead of catching him, enabling Tatum to rise up and pass to a wide-open Dennis Schroder in the center of the floor. As the rest of the team scrambled to catch up, Schroder dribbled into the frontcourt, pulled Walker toward him, and flipped a ball to Marcus Smart, who sank the game-tying 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded, sending the game to overtime.
“All I did was try to pull it up, and I slid,” Tatum said. “Then I saw [Fournier] doubling and gave it to Dennis, who found a wide-open Smart. He dismantled everything and gave us a chance.”
The teams then spent the remaining ten minutes of action looking like tired heavyweight boxers attempting to make it through the final rounds of a championship battle. After scoring 12 points in the opening two minutes of overtime, they combined to miss all ten shots they attempted the rest of the way, going scoreless. Tatum’s awful miss after holding the ball for a last shot was one of them.
Tatum shot 7-for-30 from the field and 2-for-15 from beyond the arc.
With a shake of his head, Tatum remarked of his poor shooting performance, “Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself.” “I suppose I’m only good for one per season.”
“That, hopefully, is the final one. It’s time to get it out of the way. There are 81 more to go.”
The second overtime period subsequently degenerated into a slog, with just one goal scored by each side in the first three minutes. However, after Tatum put Boston ahead with a dazzling drive and a and-1 finger roll in the last minute, the Knicks answered with a Fournier 3-pointer and a floater by Derrick Rose on back-to-back plays, giving New York the ultimate margin of victory.
Fournier, who ended with 32 points, smiled as he remarked, “It was insane.” “It was great to go to overtime because of the atmosphere, the spectators, and the game itself, but I wish we had won that game in the first 48 minutes.”
“But, particularly towards the finish, it was a dogfight. I’m sure you could see we were both exhausted.”
The ending’s craziness obscured the initial reason for Wednesday night’s game’s importance: It was Walker’s first game with the Knicks. Between his experience at Harlem’s Rice High School and his exploits at the University of Connecticut at this arena, the Bronx native with a verified famous New York City basketball history claimed he couldn’t believe he was hearing his name shouted during pregame introductions.
“So much was going through my head,” Walker said as he walked out onto the floor to a standing ovation, flashing a “X” for his home borough of The Bronx. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Playing for the home team is all there is to it.
“I’m a Bronx kid who was born and raised in this city. It was an incredible sensation to put the jersey on for the first time, for the actual regular season, and to be introduced.”
Walker’s performance was a mixed bag in and of itself. He ended with ten points, eight rebounds, three assists, and four turnovers, including two egregious ones in the last 30 seconds of regulation that enabled Boston to claw its way back into the game. He played 35 minutes before being replaced by Rose in the second overtime.
When asked how he felt about his late-game performance, Walker replied, “I was disappointed.” “I felt a little disappointed with myself.” It was somewhat of a mental blunder on my part. It occurs all the time.
“In my career, I’ve done a lot of insane, stupid stuff. That was most certainly one of them. But it does happen. You have to figure out a method to stay together. You have to find a way to win, and that’s exactly what we accomplished.”
After the game, Walker, who was dealt by the Celtics this summer, said he spent time with his old teammates. It wasn’t strange for him to play against them in his first game as a Knick, he said.
“Perhaps it would have been strange if I had been someplace else,” Walker speculated. “But, hey, I’m on the home team, so it wasn’t strange.” I just felt like everyone was rooting for me, you know? Everyone, including my teammates, the city, and the fans. It wasn’t strange in the least. Those folks hold a special place in my heart. It was seen before to the game. I have a fantastic connection with you, dude.
“I just got out of the dressing room with those men and was chatting to them. My brothers are the ones on the left. My brothers are the ones on the left. We’ve become closer in the past two years. So, even if I’m on a new squad, it won’t make a difference.”
From the other side, the sentiments were reciprocated.
“That’s my guy, dude,” Brown remarked of Brown, who set a new record for most points scored in a season opening by a Celtics player, surpassing Hall of Famers Paul Pierce and Bob Cousy (35 apiece). “I can’t speak highly enough about Kemba Walker. He’s simply one of those people who makes you want to hang out with him.
“Kemba was a fantastic help to me throughout my stay in Boston. He was kind and accepting, and he let me be myself. Some men are jealous or have similar feelings. Kemba Walker isn’t one of them, dude. As a result, I’m thankful for the time I spent and the lessons I learned. It was a pleasure to share the stage with him. I’m glad he’s back in his hometown. It was wonderful to say hello to his family — his mother was at the game.”
The celtics vs nets was a wild game that saw the New York Knicks outlast the Boston Celtics in double overtime.
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