El Madison Square Garden He hung up the sign of no tickets, recovering normality after the coronavirus pandemic, and fans were able to enjoy two extensions in an agonizing match that took the New York Knicks before some Boston Celtics (138-134) in which the Spanish Juancho Hernangmez did not have minutes.
The former Minnesota Timberwolves had his Celtics debut postponed, even despite the two overtimes and having had a pre-season spotlight. Still, the youngest of the Hernangmez was active on the bench, cheering on his teammates and living the key minutes standing.
- New York Knicks, 138- Randle (35), Robinson (11), Walker (10), Fournier (32) y Barrett (19); Sims (1), Toppin (14), Rose (9), Burks (5), Quickley (2) y Grimes (0)
- Boston Celtics, 134- Williams (15), Tatum (20), Williams III (16), Smart (15) y Brown (46); Nesmith (0), Schroder (12), Pritchard (0) y Langford (10)
Madison did their job at the start, with some Knicks in that put a partial 11-0 start, but this advantage was gradually diluted by the success of the Celtics’ triples (6 of 9 in the first 12 minutes) and by the excellent level of Jaylen Brown with his 20 points in the first quarter.
Coronavirus Doesn’t Stop Brown
And that did not even reach eight minutes of play. The forward of the historic Boston franchise tested positive for coronavirus last October 8 and missed three preseason games. Assured that had had breathing problems, but seemed to forget them completely when he jumped onto the court.
25-29 up for the visitors at the end of the first quarter, who little by little were imposing their rhythm until it appeared Julius Randle. With -12 on the scoreboard, the great star of the Knicks, and recently named Most Improved Player Last Season, scored seven points in a row, leading a 14-0 run for his team.
RESULTS OF THE DAY
- Hornets 123-122 Pacers
- Pistons 88-94 Bulls
- Knicks 138-134 Celtics
- Raptors 83-98 Wizards
- Grizzlies 132-121 Cavaliers
- Timberwolves 124-106 Rockets
- Pelicans 97-117 76ers
- Spurs 123-97 Magic
- Jazz 107-86 Thunder
- Suns 98-110 Nuggets
- Trail Blazers 121-124 Kings
First advantage of the New York franchise since the initial 13-11, but that ended at the same time that Randle could not impose his dominance, going to rest four down (54-58). His great scorer duel with Jaylen Brown ended 25-22 in the first half for the Celtics.
Randle and Fournier to the rescue
The second one started like a ‘dj vu’. The visitors went back to go on the scoreboard, to +9, and Randle reappeared to bring his people into the match, but everything changed when, at last, he found companions in his fight.
The canadian RJ Barrett scored 12 points in the third quarter, with two triples, and the Madison crowd ended up getting fully into the game. 82-86 up to face the last 12 minutes of the match.
And appeared Obi Toppin, an unexpected guest. Athletic display of the player born in New York, with up to three dunks to cover the summaries, and 14 points, already achieving the maximum of his NBA career. Factors that gave the Knicks their maximum advantage with 10 minutes and 30 seconds to go (+10, 82-92).
The tables turned and the Celtics went from dominating in transition to abusing outside shooting and conceding points on counterattack. Defense and transition, the recipe with which the Knicks seemed to take the game, but the start of the season at Madison had a special ending in store.
I appeared brown
Eleven up for the locals with four and a half minutes to go, but the green pride appeared. A 3-pointer from Jaylen Brown’s Knicks logo with five seconds to go. Fast foul, Randle made both free throws and when the Celtics’ chances seemed lost when Jayson Tatum slipped on the last play, Marcus Smart appeared to tie him over the horn.
But there was still more. Each team’s first four shots in overtime were made 3-pointers, with three in a row by Frenchman Evan Fournier for the Knicks. And that was the point for both teams. The last two and a half minutes were scoring dry, and the game was decided in the second overtime.
Low shooting percentages, easy missed baskets … the forces faltered completely in the second overtime. Jaylen Brown (career-high scorer with 46 points) and Fournier (32 in his debut with the Knicks) each scored a triple, but it was point guard Derrick Rose, with ‘only’ 22 minutes on his legs, who in one penetration put the final +4 that closed a magical meeting in an emblematic place like Madison Square Garden, which signed its first full house after the coronavirus pandemic.