C’s vs. Knicks overreactions: Immanuel Quickley becoming a draft steal for NY originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The New York Knicks coming into TD Garden and beating the Boston Celtics on Sunday isn’t a shocking result. But the Knicks beating the C’s by 30 points and dominating in nearly every facet of the game was definitely a surprise.
In fact, the 105-75 loss represents the C’s worst home defeat since March of 2007.
105-75, New York is the final
Worst home loss for the Celtics since March of 2007
75 points matches the low in the Brad Stevens era (Feb 2015 vs. Miami)
Boston ends up 7-46 from three. 2nd worst 3-point shooting game in franchise history (20+ attempts)
— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) January 17, 2021
Let’s look at three overreactions to Celtics vs. Knicks and assess their merit.
1. It’s going to take a little time for Walker to integrate into C’s lineup
Verdict: Not an overreaction
Walker showed flashes of his All-Star skill during his season debut — he scored eight points in the second quarter — but it’s clearly going to take a while for him to get into game shape and find a rhythm in the team’s offense. Walker moved pretty well and attacked the basket on numerous possessions, but there’s still a little rust for him to shake off.
Best video highlights from Celtics’ loss to Knicks
He finished with nine points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals in 20 minutes — which was his playing time restriction. Walker also took a shot to the rib area and was forced to go to the locker room, but he returned to the bench in the fourth quarter.
The Celtics offense has been dominated by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown through the first 11 games, and these two young stars have risen to the challenge by each averaging 25-plus points per game. Walker’s return gives the C’s even more offense and another primary ball-handler to run the show, but his transition back into the lineup is not going to be instantaneous.
Walker is absolutely taking the right approach, though. He’s not looking to be a superhero and mess up what’s been working for the Celtics through 12 games.
Kemba Walker asked what adjustments he needs to make with Jaylen Brown emerging into a complete offensive player: “None…I want him to keep killing it. I don’t want him to think cause I’m back that he can’t keep killing it. I just want to add on to that.”
— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) January 17, 2021
2. The Celtics’ effort level vs. Knicks is concerning
The Celtics’ effort and execution were lackluster at both ends of the floor, to say the least. New York earned a 53-43 rebounding advantage and forced 17 Celtics turnovers. The Knicks outhustled the Celtics, they pushed the pace at a higher rate and they consistently contested shots.
C’s center Daniel Theis summed up his team’s fight with one short quote:
Daniel Theis: “They really whipped our ass from the first minute.”
— Tom Westerholm (@Tom_NBA) January 17, 2021
The Celtics’ effort won’t be this bad too many more times throughout the season. But this game was a good reminder that they also aren’t talented nor deep enough to play down to their competition and expect to win. The Knicks aren’t a good team, but they earned Sunday’s win by playing with much more intensity and physicality than the C’s.
3. Immanuel Quickley might be one of the steals of the 2020 NBA Draft
Verdict: Slight overreaction
The Celtics found an excellent addition to their roster with rookie guard Payton Pritchard, who they selected with the No. 26 pick in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft. The Knicks appear to have found a quality rotation player of their own with the pick before Pritchard.
New York acquired Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley via trade after he was selected by the OKC Thunder with the No. 25 pick, and he’s making a strong case to start at point guard for head coach Tom Thibodeau. Quickley played very well against the Celtics, scoring 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting and dishing out eight assists. He was attacking the paint, creating open shots for teammates and playing with an uptempo pace.
Quickley has now scored 17-plus points in three consecutive games. He scored a career-high 23 points in Friday’s loss to the Cavaliers and poured in 19 points in a loss to the Nets last week. Much of the draft hype for the Knicks involved rookie forward Obi Toppin, who New York took at No. 8 overall. Quickley has been the better player so far, and the Knicks would be wise to steadily increase his role as the season goes along.