The Boston Celtics and New York Knicks, two NBA franchises with rich histories located in the biggest media markets on the East Coast, rumbled Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, The Mecca of Basketball.
It wasn't pretty.
knicks-celtics off to a thrilling start https://t.co/PN3JrMiCUN— jack adultman (@jackhaveitall) February 4, 2015
The Knicks entered the night having won five of their last seven games, but on Tuesday they looked more like a team with 10 wins in early February. They fell behind 14-2 in front of their home crowd, and the Celtics cruised to a 108-97 victory to snap a three-game losing streak.
As Boston buried the Knicks in the early minutes, even some of the New York writers were struggling to find their snark.
Celtics lead the Knicks 14-2. I can't even make a joke about that.— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) February 4, 2015
Not to worry, though: Frank Isola of the New York Daily News was there to deliver a zinger when ex-Knick and current Clippers guard Jamal Crawford was seen along celebrity row.
I think Jamal Crawford, who is in attendance for Knicks-Celtics, just said "damn, my years in New York is the Golden Age compared to this."— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) February 4, 2015
Jamal Crawford is watching the Celtics/Knicks game. We pray for him. pic.twitter.com/r7DCQOOrwS— Rey-Rey (@TheNoLookPass) February 4, 2015
While Tuesday was a typical night of embarrassment for #KnicksTwitter, Celtics fans saw some positive signs. Head coach Brad Stevens' decision to start rookie point guard Marcus Smart paid off: Smart scored 13 points, while Avery Bradley had a game-high 26 on 11-of-14 shooting.
The C's shot 54.5 percent from the floor, and Bradley dominated despite playing with a fractured thumb on his non-shooting hand.
And, yes, Jadakiss was there to witness it.
Jadakiss is at MSG tonight to watch Knicks-Celtics. I think he'll leave with 50 new bars for the song "Why"— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) February 4, 2015
Before the game, Bradley was wearing a "thumb sleeve."
Avery Bradley's left thumb was in a sleeve. He said it's numb, and that he's just been icing it and resting it and can play through it.— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) February 4, 2015
After his brilliant performance on Tuesday, he might want to start wearing that thumb sleeve before every game.
Brad Stevens on Avery Bradley's thumb and his 26 points: "Obviously it didn't affect his shot today. He was smoking from everywhere."— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) February 4, 2015
For the Celtics, perhaps the biggest question raised was whether Smart should start all the time. Evan Turner continued an ugly stretch of play, scoring five points in 33 minutes, and with Boston's offense in desperate need of a boost, Stevens may consider giving Smart more minutes—and Turner fewer—in the weeks ahead.
Evan Turner stinking, Avery Bradley playing w/ numb thumb to get through the pain. Marcus Smart’s stock goin’ up…on a Tuesday. #Celtics— Ethan Norof (@Mr_Norof) February 4, 2015
Jared Sullinger on why the Celtics got off to a quick start: "Marcus Smart and the way he played defensively."— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 4, 2015
The Knicks cut the deficit to 86-82 with eight minutes left. Then, around the 7:30 mark, newly acquired Lance Thomas entered his submission for Flop of the Year.
Only halfway through the season and Lance Thomas has already won flop of the year! https://t.co/SVxCAd1QGI— The Pick and Roll (@PickandRollAU) February 4, 2015
It'll probably cost him.
Lance Thomas should expect to write a $2,000 check to the NBA soon. https://t.co/StOFHKo2do— N1NBA (@AndOneNBA) February 4, 2015
The Celtics pulled away and staved off a potential comeback. After the game, Carmelo Anthony—who had 21 points on 9-of-23 shooting—said his team looked "dead":
Carmelo said the Knicks looked "dead" out there tonight. Preparing us for what it will look like if they do eventually shut him down.— Brian Mahoney (@briancmahoney) February 4, 2015
Here's the full quote, via ESPNNewYork.com: "I don't think we had it from an energy standpoint. It seemed like, just, dead out there. No energy. Boston, they beat us tonight. They came out from the jump, they made plays, and they kind of set the tone from the beginning."
To be fair, the 10-39 Knicks were probably just taking cues from their owner.
As Isola points out, he might have just been reading the box score. But that's just as depressing.
And this was on the same day the New York Times ran a story in which Knicks president Phil Jackson admitted his little "experiment" is not going as planned: