BOSTON — Nobody told the Knicks tonight’s game was 8 on 5. A second quarter ejection, 6 tehcnical fouls and uneven officiating throughout the game helped demoralize the Knicks as they dropped a disappointing game to the Celtics.
WEATHERING THE STORM: The Celtics came in determined to snap their three-game losing streak. Led by Isaiah Thomas (29 points, 23 in the first half), the Celtics were hot from long-range and held a 31-27 lead after the first. Carmelo Anthony kept New York in it with his offense, scoring 12 points in 12 minutes. And during his early second quarter rest, Hernangomez (8 points, 12 rebounds) played well as the first big off the bench. Particularly effective was the Knicks nabbing 14 offensive rebounds in the first half.
Then, disaster struck…
THE EJECTION: The game was heating up in the second when Melo was call for dubious loose ball foul. Melo complained vehemently and earned his first tech. He walked away but made sure referee Tony Brothers was within earshot to hear his displeasure. Whatever Melo said was enough to earn his second technical.
The ejection couldn’t have come at a worst time since the Knicks had slashed the deficit to six. Boston promptly went on a 9-0 run and later extended the run to 17-3.
The Knicks were lucky to only be down 61-51 at halftime.
NO MELO, NO CHANCE: Knick fans remember that last year’s team couldn’t muster a win without Melo. Tonight was no different. Porzingis (5-15, 14 points) was frustrated by the physical play of Marcus Smart and never truly got in rhythm. Derrick Rose (3-10, 11 points, 7 turnovers) had a few decent drives in the first half, but ultimately his turnovers and erratic shooting eliminated any comeback hopes.
Compounding the problems was the lopsided foul calling and bad shooting. The Celtics got 43 free throws to Knicks’s 17. New York only managed 39% from the field and 25 turnovers. With those numbers, you can forget winning on the road.
MISSED OPPORTUNITY: The Celtics were without Jae Crowder and Al Horford. With the red-hot Raptors on the schedule tomorrow, the Knicks are in danger of being three games under .500 by Sunday.
WHY DO THE REFS HATE US?: Do we have a bad reputation around the league? The sheer amount of foul calls (and techs) on us is now becoming very alarming. The Knicks aren’t allowed the same physicality as other teams. I’m speculating, but I think we have a reputation as complainers among the officials (hence no calls).
Nonetheless, the Knicks have to learn to channel their anger. Good teams don’t let the officials decide their fate.
JENNINGS JOINS MELO: Brandon Jennings had another poor game (1-7, 6 points) and did his best to get tossed in the fourth. The refs obliged him.
The only silver lining is no one lodged big minutes. The squad should be fresh for tomorrow’s important game in Toronto.