Keys to the Game: Knicks 138, Celtics 134 (2OT)

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

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Key Moment

One word can describe what just took place Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden: chaos.

Celtics versus Knicks, tipping off each franchise’s 75th season, was nothing short of an instant classic. The final 13 minutes of the game, which included two overtime sessions, featured everything a game could possibly showcase. Unfortunately for Boston, that included a game-winning shot from its former wing, Evan Fournier, who is now a member of the Knicks.

Fournier made a long list of big shots over the final 20 minutes of the game, but the most important one arrived with 56.1 seconds left in the second overtime session.

New York called for a timeout following a three-point play by Jayson Tatum that gave Boston a 134-133 lead with 1:05 left on the clock of the second extra session. The play Tom Thibodeau drew up for the Knicks worked to perfection.

Fournier was the original inbounder on the play, and after a series of screens and misdirection by the Knicks, he popped up to the top of the arc off a screen from Mitchell Robinson. New Celtics point guard Dennis Schroder lost track of Fournier on the play, and after a pump-fake that sent Schroder flying past him, Fournier stepped into the triple and drilled it with 56.1 seconds left to give the Knicks a two-point lead.

Boston did not score the rest of the way, missing its final four shots of the night, while New York tacked on two more points to close out a truly chaotic 138-134 victory.

Key Player

There is no other candidate for this position than one Jaylen Brown.

Brown, fresh off of a bout with COVID-19, returned to Boston’s lineup just a day after clearing the Health & Safety Protocols to log the most explosive offensive performance of his career, and the most explosive offensive performance of Boston’s 75 years of Opening Nights.

The sixth-year wing dominated from start to finish en route to a career-best 46 points on the night. Twenty of those points were scored during the first quarter, nine were scored during the middle two frames, 10 were scored during the fourth quarter, and another seven were scored during the two overtime sessions.

As indicated above, this performance now stands as the highest scoring output in Opening Night history for a Celtics franchise that’s loaded with history.

Brown also contributed nine rebounds, six assists, three steals and a blocked shot on the night. He connected on 16 of his 30 shot attempts, including an 8-for-14 effort from long distance, and six of his eight free throws.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Every Celtic who scored a point (seven players in total) scored in double-figures.
  • Jaylen Brown led the game with a career-high 46 points.
  • Both teams led by at least 11 points during the game.
  • Julius Randle threatened for a triple-double with 35 points, a game-high nine assists, and eight rebounds.
  • Mitchell Robinson grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds.
  • Rob Williams tallied 16 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and a game-high five blocked shots.
  • Grant Williams (3-for-5) and Romeo Langford (2-for-3) combined to shoot 5-for-8 from long range, while each scored in double-figures.
  • Dennis Schroder led the Celtics in assists with eight. He also scored 12 points while coming off the bench.
  • The C's shot just 41 percent from the floor but competed for the win thanks to them attempting 12 more field goals than the Knicks.
  • Both teams scored 17 points off of turnovers.
  • Evan Fournier scored 32 points for New York.
  • Marcus Smart tallied 15 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals for Boston.

Quote of the Night

Ime Udoka on the tough loss