If Wednesday night’s season opener is any indication, the 2021-22 NBA season is going to be quit a ride for the Boston Celtics.
Let by a mammoth night by Jaylen Brown, the Celtics fell just short in a 138-134 loss to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, but there were some positives to build on moving forward for new head coach Ime Udoka and his squad.
Without the services of Al Horford and Josh Richardson, the Celtics held their own against a Knicks team led by the new back court of former Celtics sharp shooters Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier.
It was Fournier (32 points) who hit the dagger in double overtime to bury the Celtics, but overall, it was a lackluster shooting night from Jayson Tatum that really soured the night as he really wasn’t able to get it going, missing 15 of his first 20 shot.
Boston Celtics rally late, but mistakes dribble away a victory
Luckily for the C’s, Brown, who scored 25 of his game-high 46 points in the first quarter, was able to keep the team in the game early and eventually out to a 12-point lead before scoring droughts allowed the Knicks to take control of the game late.
In a game of runs, the Celtics finished regulation with an 18-7 run capped off by a game-tying 3 from Marcus Smart to force overtime. But, in all, it was a game that got away from Udoka’s team as the new coach credited poor communication on the defensive end of the court that led to the Fournier eventual game-winner in double OT.
"“We switched from switching everything to switching one through four,” Udoka said following the game, as transcribed by the Boston Herald. “And guys got a little confused going under expecting Rob (Williams) to switch out. Changing our coverage in overtime and the fourth quarter we wanted to keep Rob on Julius Randle, and some of our guys just messed up the coverage. Have to be more communicative when we switch it up late in the game. Knew we made a few mistakes that kept them in the game in the first overtime.”"
The Boston Celtics will work on those mistakes, but the positive to take away from the game is that the team was able to at least have a chance to win the game with Tatum not at his best. That is the sign of a team with a good supporting cast. Here are the team’s top 3 performances of the night.