Cutting a 26-point deficit down to 10 breaths life into an arena. Failing to slice it to fewer than 10 points on five separate occasions, however, sucks that life right out.
Boston knows all about both of those feelings following Wednesday’s 117-109 loss to the New York Knicks.
The first four instances of the Celtics crawling back to within 10 points occurred during the third quarter, when there was plenty of time remaining to finish off a comeback. The last such instance came with 2:27 remaining in the third, when Boston made it a 79-69 game off of a cutting dunk by Jaylen Brown, but it failed to score another point the rest of the quarter.
New York, meanwhile, scored the final five points of the third, capped by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Alonzo Trier. The Knicks also scored six of the first seven points of the final period to rebuild a 20-point advantage.
Yet Boston still plugged away and cut that lead back down to 10 again with 7:25 remaining, when Al Horford hit a 3-pointer from the right sideline. Yet again, it had a chance, and yet again, New York responded, this time by scoring seven of the next eight points to pull ahead by 16 with 6:01 remaining.
From that point on, the C’s only had one more sniff at a win. A late and futile run during the final four minutes got them to within as few as three points, but it was all fool’s gold. This was a matter of too little, too late.
They played with a heightened level of ferocity to pull to within three during the final minutes. It was fun to watch at both ends of the court. Had they played that way earlier, when they made it a 10-point game over and over, they just might’ve pulled off an improbable comeback win.
The list seems to grow game by game. Someone on almost every opposing team seems to catch fire against the Celtics.
Wednesday night, that person was Trey Burke, who scored 29 points against Boston to lead the Knicks to a 117-109 victory.
Burke was outstanding from start to finish, as he shot 11-for-20 from the field and 4-for-6 from 3-point range. His final 3-pointer was a dagger with 12.9 seconds left that thwarted a comeback attempt by the C’s, Burke made six midrange jumpers from outside the paint, which matched the output by Boston’s entire team, and he also converted on all three of his free throws.
New York’s point guard tallied 11 assists to account for one of his team’s three double-doubles. Burke rounded out his box score with six rebounds and two steals.
The Knicks outscored Boston by 10 points while Burke was on the floor.
Box Score Nuggets
- Three New York players (Trey Burke, Noah Vonleh and Enes Kanter) logged double-doubles, while Kyrie Irving was the only Celtics player to do so.
- Irving tallied a game-high 13 assists to go along with a team-high 22 points.
- Gordon Hayward scored a season-high 19 points.
- Vonleh and Kanter, who each grabbed 10 rebounds, tied for the game’s high total in that category.
- New York led by as many as 26 points and the game did not feature a single tie or lead change.
- Marcus Morris came off of Boston’s bench to score 21 points.
- Four of New York’s five reserves who appeared in the game finished with plus/minus ratings of at least plus-10.
- Kyrie Irving’s three steals matched New York’s team total.
- The Celtics committed only eight turnovers.
- Mitchell Robinson blocked a game-high six shots.
- New York made five more 3-pointers (15) than Boston (10) despite attempting three fewer shots from long distance (30, to Boston’s 33).
Quote of the Night
This is where coaches are sick in a twisted way, because the losing eats you alive, but the storm is part of the job.
Brad Stevens on Boston’s struggles.
There was no missed flight or overslept conference call this time around. Celtics coach Br…