Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night
The story was the same for both the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks during the first half of Tuesday night’s contest at Madison Square Garden: No ball movement and no rhythm.
The Celtics and Knicks dished out just six assists apiece during the first 24 minutes, and neither team could find a flow as a result.
Boston adjusted when it came out of the break and dished out nine dimes during the third quarter. Meanwhile, the Knicks stayed at the exact same pace, assisting on just three baskets in the third.
The improved ball movement paved way for easy buckets for the C’s, and ultimately led to their 97-89 win.
Boston, which trailed 47-45 at the break, assisted on its first five field goals of the third quarter. It assisted on all but two buckets during that quarter, and went into the fourth quarter with a 70-65 lead.
Another adjustment the Celtics made was decreasing their 3-point attempts after they couldn’t get any to fall during the first half. They shot 0-for-13 before the break, and then 3-for-6 during the second half.
Instead, they began penetrating to the hoop more, and dominated the Knicks in the paint, 58-28. That paint production was due in part to Boston’s improved ball movement, as they turned the tables after a somewhat ugly first half and provided a pretty finish.
Tyler Zeller’s playing time has been limited all season, but C’s coach Brad Stevens could not take him out of the game Tuesday night, and it was easy to see why.
The 7-footer logged his first double-double of the season, posting season-highs of 16 points, 10 rebounds and 27 minutes of playing time.
Zeller saved his best effort for the fourth quarter; he played all 12 minutes of the final frame, tallying eight points and six boards (including four on the offensive end).
All the while, he ran the floor like usual, which was displayed to perfection when he threw down a highlight-reel catch-and-jam on the fast break during the fourth quarter.
But what was really impressive was his fearlessness. He was a force on the offensive glass, notching seven boards on that end, and was able to cool off Robin Lopez on the boards after he had crushed the C’s during the first quarter with nine offensive rebounds.
Zeller needed a game like this, and considering the hard work he puts into the game and the positive mentality he has carried throughout the season, he fully deserved it.
Box Score Nuggets
- Tyler Zeller notched his first double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
- Zeller also surpassed the 20-minute mark for the first time this season, with 27 minutes of court time.
- Isaiah Thomas was the only player to reach 20 points. He scored exactly that amount.
- The Celtics trampled the Knicks in the paint, 58-28.
- New York, however, had a 50-45 edge in the rebounding department.
- All nine of Robin Lopez's rebounds during the first quarter were on the offensive end. He only corralled four more – two on each end – during the remainder of the game.
- Along with his 13 boards, Lopez scored 17 points and blocked a game-high three shots.
- The Celtics only blocked two shots as a team.
- Carmelo Anthony notched a game high 14 rebounds, to go along with 16 points and a team-high four assists.
- The Celtics tripled New York in the steal department, 9-3.
- Zeller led the game in plus/minus with a plus-11.
- Evan Turner joined Zeller in Boston's double-double club with 14 points and 10 boards.
- Boston shot 0-for-13 from 3-point range during the first half. It shot 3-of-6 from deep during the second half.
- Thomas led the game with eight dimes.
- The Celtics had scored at least 100 points during their previous 12 games. That streak was snapped with their 97-point performance Tuesday night.
- Boston held its opponent to less than 90 points for the first time since Dec. 23, when it beat Charlotte, 102-89.
- Thomas and Avery Bradley were the only Celtics starters to play during the fourth quarter. And they only played 13 minutes combined.
Quote of the Night
[Zeller] has sacrificed quite a bit throughout the whole season for our team. You really trust him, and he played great tonight.
Brad Stevens on Tyler Zeller.