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Knicks Suffer Tough Christmas Defeat

NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. – The last time the New York Knicks played in a Christmas Day game was back in 2014, against the Washington Wizards. After a one year hiatus, the Knicks were back on the Christmas Day line-up of games. This year’s opponent would be the rival Boston Celtics. Ironically, Boston gave New York its last Christmas Day win back in the 2011-12 season. Since then, the Knicks have lost three straight Christmas Day match-ups.

The new-look Knicks were hoping to snap their Christmas Day losing streak, by making a statement on national television. New York and Boston gave the sellout crowd of 19,812 fans a closely contested game. Boston led for most of the game, and led by as many as 13 points with 4:58 left in the 4th quarter. The Knicks fought hard to tie the game at 112-112, with just 1:06 left in the game. It was key offensive rebounding and clutch three point shooting by Boston however, that earned them a 119-114 win over New York.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes) Thomas gave the Knicks all they could handle Sunday afternoon.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes) Thomas gave the Knicks all they could handle Sunday afternoon.

Isaiah Thomas rose to the occasion, by leading the Celtics in scoring with 27 points. Thomas did a great job of putting pressure on New York through penetrating and getting to the free throw line. The Celtics got a total team effort, along with Thomas’ heroics. Six Celtic players finished in double-digit scoring, and Boston recorded 25 team assists. Those assists translated to an alarming 54 points scored in the paint for Boston. However, it was the Celtics’ ball movement for open three-pointers (14 for 36 from downtown) that ultimately did New York in.

New York’s “Big Three” of Carmelo Anthony (29 points), Derrick Rose (25 points) and Kristaps Porzingis (22 points) combined for 76 points. Aside from the “Big Three”, only one other Knick (Courtney Lee, 11 points) scored in double figures. If the Knicks want to be an elite team in the Eastern Conference, they have to get more consistent production from their role players. The Boston bench outscored New York 41-19, led by Kelly Olynyk (16 points) and Marcus Smart (15 points).

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes) Rose hurt the Celtics all afternoon driving to the basket.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes) Rose hurt the Celtics all afternoon driving to the basket.

The Knicks shot themselves in the foot, by turning the ball over 17 times. Time and time again, this problem has plagued New York’s chances of winning games. You must take care of the basketball in the NBA or else you will get beat.

The most alarming thing, was the fact that the Knicks only recorded 11 assists total. There was way too much “hero ball” being played. The same ball movement and unselfishness that got the Knicks in the playoff picture, was not shown on Christmas. This was shown most clearly, when Anthony got the ball stolen from him in the last seconds of the game. The Knicks do not have the top to-bottom talent on their roster to just play isolation basketball. New York is at their best when they are making the extra pass, and Anthony is not a vacuum on offense.

The Knicks will try to get back on track Wednesday night, against the Atlanta Hawks in Atlanta.

Barry Holmes is a Senior Writer for PureSportsNY.com. Follow him on Twitter @BHO732

(Featured Photo Credit: Barry Holmes/PureSportsNY)

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