The New York Knicks lost to the Boston Celtics 123 to 133, marking Boston’s third loss of the season.This game has never been closer.
The Knicks held Boston close for a quarter before the Celtics began to build a dominant lead. Three-point defense failed New York for the second straight game, and their flat third-quarter pattern continued. They carried it by a reasonable margin in the fourth, but that’s as close as they got. Tom Thibodeau made the change that many fans were asking for by inserting Donte DiVincenzo into the starting lineup in place of Quentin Grimes. The move didn’t change the team’s underlying problems. To make matters worse, Jalen Brunson sprained his ankle in the final seconds of a game New York had no chance of winning.This was a brutal loss, capping a tough week. But some players have come out of a slump, so let’s take a look at the performance. Jalen Brunson: 23 PTS (8/17 FG, 0/5 3PT, 7/9 FT), 4 AST, 1 REB, 1 STL, 1 TO in 34 minutesJalen Brunson played a decent game, but couldn’t reach his best form. He scored efficiently from inside the arc but missed numerous open threes. In a high-profile case, these threesomes were necessary. However, thanks to excellent interior work and a series of indecisive fouls, he scored 23 points on 47 percent from the field.Brunson’s biggest problem was defense. For the second game in a row, it felt like Boston was chasing Brunson. They ran him through screens, lined him up and handed him to shooters when he was the next defender. I lost count of the times a closeout from Brunson seemed pointless because he was too far away to hit the shooter.Brunson did a lot of work, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with Boston. His defensive shortcomings stood out more than any of his contributions. He then ended the play by rolling his ankle after stepping on Payton Pritchard’s foot. Brunson gets 1.5 out of 5 for a performance not as good as the numbers suggest.Donte DiVincenzo: 6 PTS (2/6 FG, 2/5 3PT), 1 AST, 4 REB, 1 TO in 22 minutesDonte DiVincenzo’s numbers look a lot like Quentin Grimes’ recent struggles. DiVincenzo hit just three until an ill-fated layup attempt in the fourth. His shot attempts have been few and far between, thanks to limited touches and long periods on the bench. He looked more decisive than Grimes, but that didn’t make much difference for an overwhelmed starting unit. I applaud DiVo for staying active. His 4 rebounds tied Quentin Grimes’ season record and he remained active throughout the game. His defense couldn’t accommodate Grimes, but I’m not sure either player could have helped against Boston’s shooting.The change between DiVincenzo and Grimes has only led to an uptick in their production. Grimes was the scorer and DiVo was the guy who barely touched the ball. Perhaps the issues will be resolved over time as Donte becomes better at establishing himself in open spaces for baseball players. But for now, DiVo gets a 1.5 out of 5 for a lackluster evening.