Madness in Madison: Randall and Fournier condemn the Celtics
The Knicks are still sweet and the Celtics stuck. And none of them do what we said. At the end of the day, we are in the first game of the season and not an extension of the previous one, in which Madison was once again the center of the world and Boston ended in the depression and in a remodeling of the project. In a match that could be for anyone, the New Yorkers continued their upward dynamic and the Greens rowed to land on shore. A trend similar to last year, when some finished with positive feelings and others not so much, despite the fact that both fell in the first round. But with good news from both sides and a very wide margin of improvement within a long season (the first with 82 games in three years) in which they will have the opportunity to seek a vindication or redemption. Depending on what happens to each one.
The encounter was tachycardic, epic, epic and extraordinary. An amazing letter of introduction in the mecca of basketball, that stadium already full, with the famous at the foot of the court and Spike Lee doing his thing when he goes to celebrate a basket with a much calmer Dustin Hoffman. The streets of Manhattan and the upper class of New York accumulate in the first row of a few bleachers full of paraphernalia and entertainment, more pending to appear than to be. But, similar to what happens at Staples Center, in another great market like Los Angeles, Knicks fans understand basketball. And he has vibrated with his team celebrating every triple, every basket and every defensive action. And they have even managed to make Tom Thibodeau, that great coach (the best last year) with a very particular style, appear to be a beautiful and attractive defender of the game.
A quarter each, a strong start for the Celtics countered by some locals who adjusted back, 11 lead changes in the light, 10 draws … the game had it all and yet it also had it all at the end . With just 4 seconds to go, a hideous Jayson Tatum (20 points on 7-of-30 from the field and 2 of 15 from 3-pointers, an ignominious performance), slipped away, yielded to Dennis Schröder and handed it to Marcus Smart. who took advantage of a poorly retracted defense to score a triple that forced the first overtime. It was 116-116 in four periods, too much for a Thibodeau who was not very happy with the defensive level shown by his team until then (the Knicks received 104.7 points last year, the best defense in the NBA), but he is pragmatic. . and he knows that the important thing is victory.
The first overtime was nobody’s, but the Celtics were closer. Tatum, this time yes, hit a triple that tied the duel at 128 with 3 minutes to go. The nerves and fatigue were evident and there were no more baskets in that time, while Tatum himself tried to solve the duel with a poorly executed jump shot, in part due to the successful defense of RJ Barret. In the second overtime, the Celtics did not give more of themselves: Tatum (who despite everything, appeared at the end), achieved a 2 + 1 that advanced the visitors (133-134), but a triple by Evan Fournier, in the Celtics last year blew up at Madison. A final basket from Thibodeau’s fetish player Derrick Rose (9 points and 5 assists) tipped the balance (138-134) and thwarted Ime Udoka’s debut as head coach. In a frenzied duel full of moments as bright as they are heartbreaking.
The Knicks smile: Randle, the most improved player last season, did it all (35 + 8 + 9) and Evan Fournier went to 32 points, 9 of them in the first overtime and the triple winner, in addition to an excellent 13 25 in field goals. Kemba Walker, for his part, did not stand out too much (10 points) despite playing 35 minutes, but he did take revenge on a team with which he did not finish well. And the Celtics, for their part, have reason to be optimistic: they played with the two Williamses on the inside and had a poor performance from a Tatum who will rise, but Jaylen Brown returned to salute the NBA with a huge performance: 46 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 16 of 30 in field goals and 8 of 14 in triples. Udoka will have to squeeze Brown, turn Tatum’s meeting into a pothole and expand the rotation (Juancho, Kanter, Jabari Parker, Bruno Fernando did not play …). And left behind are Josh Richardson (Schröder is green, 5 of 16 shooting) and Al Horford, not yet available. They have reason for optimism, yes. But they have what sometimes costs more, the first game. And as soon as possible.