No Kyrie Irving, no problem.
The Boston Celtics were without the star point guard Wednesday night due to a quad contusion, but the C’s had little trouble taking down the New York Knicks in a 103-73 rout.
Terry Rozier shined as Irving’s replacement in the starting lineup. In his first career start, the Celtics guard recorded his first triple-double with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Marcus Morris notched a game-high 20 points, while Jayson Tatum (15 points), Al Horford (14 points) and Jaylen Brown (14 points) also scored in double figures.
Enes Kanter (17 points, 17 rebounds) and Kristaps Porzingis (16 points) were strong for the Knicks, but it was nowhere near enough for New York to earn the road victory.
With the win, the Celtics improve to 37-15, while the Knicks fall to 23-29.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Terry Rozier
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron Baynes
Rozier relished the opportunity of his first career start, scoring 11 first-quarter points to help give Boston a 27-24 lead after the opening 12 minutes. Rozier found the bulk of his points from beyond the arc, converting on three of four attempts from 3-point range. Brown wasn’t too far behind his backcourt mate, scoring seven points of his own. The C’s did have some issues containing Kanter, who contributed six points and five rebounds in the first quarter.
Boston received a major second-quarter lift in the form of Morris. After only notching two points in the first frame, the veteran forward responded with nine in the second to help the C’s take a 50-45 lead into the break. The Knicks’ big men continued to give the Celtics trouble. Porzingis added six points in the second to swell his first-half total to 13, which led all scorers. Kanter already notched a double-double through two quarters with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
WIDEN THE GAP
It was a back-and-forth affair in the first half, but the Celtics finally created some distance in the third quarter and took an 81-65 lead into the final frame. Morris continued his torrid pace with nine points in the quarter, boosting his total to 20. But it wasn’t all good for Morris in the third, as an awkward fall after a dunk forced him out of the game.
Horford also had a big quarter for the C’s with seven points, while Rozier rebounded from a scoreless second frame with five points in the quarter.
LET THE ROUT COMMENCE
While the Celtics’ lead entering the fourth wasn’t colossal, the Knicks’ sluggish play to start the quarter quickly allowed Boston to put the game out of hand. New York struggled mightily on offense throughout the fourth, allowing the C’s to go on an 18-0 run. In fact, the Knicks only managed to score eight points in the fourth, giving Boston a chance to rest its starters for the final five minutes of the game.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Put this Brown dunk over Porzingis on a poster.
The Celtics return to action Friday night for a matchup with the Atlanta Hawks. Tip-off from TD Garden is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports
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