The NBA traditionally plays Christmas Day games and this year was no exception with the Celtics @ the Knicks kicking things off.
MSG seemed a little off their game as they were later than normal in allowing fans in to the venue and seemed to be practicing heightened crowd control (of course this was New York on Christmas Day so precautions are understandable).
The Knicks are having a good season, certainly better than some of the results would suggest. This was a highly anticipated match up following on from the dramatic game earlier in the season which saw Carmelo Anthony being removed from the game and KP picking up a technical foul as well.
All the players seemed to be excited for the match up and there was palpable anticipation among the crowd. The crowd started off fairly quiet but as the game progressed the volume rose and you easily hear the chants of ‘defence’ or ‘let’s go Knicks’. The Garden is known for this and it really is something to be part of the experience.
After the game Walt ‘Clyde’ Frasier commented on the atmosphere saying “you could hear all the oohs and ahhs, it was like Linsanity”
I’m not sure it was quite that, but every dubious decision by the referees was met with strong booing from the crowd, while a good play was met with loud cheers.
There was a sense that the Knicks may have started on the Christmas dinner a little early as they seemed sluggish at times. Noah is under a lot of pressure to perform this season, and is jeered when he fumbles or misses an easy rebound however he was not the only one to fumble the ball during this game (looking at you Melo).
Overall though it wasn’t a bad game for the Knicks, to suggest that is the reason they lost is to suggest that the Celtics are a bad team, which they are not – they were sitting second in the division gong in to the game. They have some great players including the lightening fast Isaiah Thomas, who scored 27 points in this game.
The Knicks lost this game on a couple of things- turnovers (17 to Boston’s 6), steals (5 to Boston’s 10) and shot selection, with marginally lower percentages in both FGs and three point shots. There were some media exports following this game claiming that isolation play was a big factor but I just don’t see that, this was a close game. The previous two home wins had 4 and 6 players in double digit points respectively, this game had 4 as well so I’s not out of the ordinary.
The team just need to keep focusing on being a team, finding the open man and staying awake on defence.