December 4, 2023

Celtics

The Celtics can get scorching in a rush.

Kristaps Porzingis and the Celtics took on the New York Knicks at TD Backyard in Boston on Nov. 13. AP Photograph/Charles Krupa

The Celtics and Knicks locked horns for just a little greater than three quarters earlier than an offensive explosion within the fourth helped the Celtics declare a 114-98 victory.

Listed here are the takeaways.

1. We’re witnessing a fairly spectacular leap by Jayson Tatum, who’s by some means considerably higher than the participant final yr who made a totally deserving All-NBA First Staff and have become the primary Celtics participant to common 30 or extra factors per recreation.

On Monday, Tatum began gradual from behind the 3-point line, however he helped the Celtics keep hooked up because the Knicks outplayed them within the first two quarters. He pitched in six factors within the third, however the Celtics constructed an eight-point lead because of their protection and a few stable offense from Kristaps Porzingis and Jaylen Brown.

Within the fourth, nonetheless, Tatum went off. He scored 17 factors and went 4-for-5 from 3-point vary, giving baskets to a wide range of defenders — one of many surest indicators of progress is that defenders who used to offer Tatum issues (like Josh Hart) merely don’t appear to anymore. By the point the mud cleared, Tatum had 35 factors on 23 field-goal makes an attempt in addition to six rebounds and 7 assists.

Tatum isn’t resistant to the occasional capturing hunch. He’s, nonetheless, basically unguardable within the submit for smaller gamers, very snug taking bigs on 1-on-1, and greater than keen to cross when groups ship a double-team. It stays to be seen if he’ll put up sufficient counting stats to be within the MVP dialog, however for the primary time in his profession, he looks as if a candidate with an actual shot versus a well mannered inclusion.

2. As soon as once more, we noticed how useful Jrue Vacation could be on the defensive finish. Vacation guarded Julius Randle once more, however he additionally handled Jalen Brunson and various different guards on switches.

Vacation additionally scored his 15,000th level within the second half with a 3-pointer from the highest of the important thing — an honor he had no concept was on the horizon.

“I heard my title just a little bit, so I figured I did one thing mistaken,” Vacation advised reporters afterward.

Vacation conceded that the second was significant, however for a participant who has received a championship earlier than, particular person accolades don’t fairly measure up.

“It implies that I’ve performed lengthy sufficient,” Vacation mentioned. “I’ve performed for a very long time. But it surely’s cool. I didn’t comprehend it was coming. I ought to in all probability tune in just a little higher. It’s at all times good to get it while you win.”

3. The Celtics tried some trick defenses, together with a zone and a full-court press, each of which appeared to throw the Knicks for a loop. Jaylen Brown mentioned he likes utilizing these defenses to hurry the sport up.

“It permits us to get out and run and creates a sooner tempo, sooner momentum-type of recreation,” Brown mentioned. “I believe within the third quarter we form of sped the sport up just a little bit and had been in a position to get out and run just a little extra.”

4. Mazzulla had one of many funnier strains of the night when he was requested about Sam Hauser’s protection.

“I believe he’s a a lot better defender than individuals suppose,” Mazzulla mentioned. “I can’t say why or else I’ll get in hassle.”

Mazzulla went on to reward Hauser’s method and tendencies.

“I really feel simply as snug with him guarding as anyone else,” Mazzulla mentioned. “I’ve mentioned it from day one. I believe he’s a really, superb defender, underrated, and as he continues to get higher, it makes our staff higher.”

Groups do appear to often get suckered into attacking Hauser on the expense of their offensive rhythm for causes that we — like Mazzulla — will depart unexplored in the intervening time.

In the meantime, Hauser went 4-for-6 from 3-point vary once more. It’s onerous to overstate how harmful the Celtics’ offense is when he’s on a heater.

5. Josh Hart had a weird play within the fourth quarter. Caught within the nook towards Vacation, Hart elevated to shoot however was effectively contested. As a substitute, Hart opted to throw the ball off Vacation again to himself. The play labored by some means, and he buried a 3-pointer.

6. Famous Celtics killer Immanuel Quickley completed with simply three factors, capturing 1-for-10 from the sector.

7. Derrick White had an odd recreation — he was +14 with 4 assists, a block and a steal, however he completed with simply three factors and went 1-for-7 from the sector.

It could be a testomony, then, to how a lot White impacts the sport when he isn’t scoring that Tatum picked Monday’s postgame press convention to tear ESPN for slighting White in its annual rating of the NBA’s prime 100 gamers.

“D-White’s a hell of a basketball participant,” Tatum mentioned. “It’s a rattling disgrace [ESPN] left him off the highest 100 gamers. That’s why I by no means take note of s— like that. D-White is so useful, we’re so fortunate to have him and even when he’s not capturing the ball effectively, he makes successful performs like getting that again faucet, little issues like that. All the time competes on protection, contesting pictures.

“He’s a hell of participant, and we’re fortunate to have him.”

8. Adam Silver joined the NBC Sports activities Boston broadcast briefly within the first half and praised legendary play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman for his prolonged and spectacular profession with the franchise. Silver additionally strongly hinted that the NBA will develop after the brand new TV deal, and he talked about Mexico Metropolis, Montreal and Vancouver as attainable websites.

Our two cents: We’ll be shocked if the NBA doesn’t develop to Seattle and Las Vegas first. We will see.

9. One other cool second for Tatum: His father, Justin, was named head coach of the Illawarra Hawks within the NBL. Justin Tatum was an assistant with the Hawks, who parted methods with their coach at present.

Tatum mentioned he’s “extraordinarily completely satisfied” for Justin.

“That’s a giant, large step,” Tatum mentioned. “I do know he’s making an attempt to construct his resume and his teaching profession. Gained a number of state titles in highschool, totally different groups, after which being over in Australia for the final 4 months and now’s the top coach for the Hawks. So I’m excited for him and looking out ahead to him form of altering that group round.”

10. The Celtics journey to Philadelphia on Wednesday for one more crack on the East-leading Sixers. That’s the beginning of a four-game street swing that features the Raptors, Grizzlies and Hornets.

When the Celtics return residence, they are going to be greeted with their first showdown of the season towards Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard and the Bucks.