The Boston Celtics limped into the NBA All-Star break, losing four of their five games heading into the league’s vacation.
But the C’s seem re-energized after their 10-day hiatus, as they followed up their 110-98 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday with a 121-112 win over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night thanks to Kyrie Irving’s near triple-double.
While the win wasn’t achieved the way the C’s would have liked, they were more than happy to get out of The Big Apple with a win after allowing the Knicks to shoot 46.9 percent from the field and tally 54 points in the paint.
Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. constantly beat Boston off the bounce, getting into the teeth of the C’s defense and wreaking havoc by either finishing at the rim or hitting a teammate for an easy bucket.
Despite Boston’s inability to play the way it wants to on the defensive end, head coach Brad Stevens was pleased with his team’s effort Saturday and during the first two games out of the break.
“The energy and the competitive spirit was back, all 96 minutes we’ve played this weekend,” Stevens said, as seen on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage.
But while Stevens is happy with his team’s play this weekend, he noted they weren’t going to get caught up in wins over the Pistons and Knicks.
“We’re not in it for two games, we’re in it for the last 23, so we’ve just got to keep adding to it and building on it,” Stevens said
Boston looked like a shell of itself two weeks ago, but the much-needed rest appears to have brought one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams back to life.
Here are more notes from Celtics-Knicks:
— Stevens discussed Gordon Hayward’s rehab before the game, saying there is no plan for the star forward to return this season.
— Terry Rozier now has scored in double figures in 10 consecutive games dating back to Jan. 31.
— This was the 17th game that Irving has scored 30 or more points.
— Al Horford joined Raef LaFrentz as the only two centers in Celtics history to record two seasons of 80 or more 3-point field goals.
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