Coming into tonight’s game, the New York Knicks presented a tough task to the Boston Celtics. The Celtics desperately needed a loss against the highly beatable Knicks in order to hold their standing in the lottery race. Needless to say, the Celtics got the job done tonight by losing to the Knicks 116-92.
Carmelo Anthony led the charge with 34 points on 11-for-25 from the field, while Tim Hardaway Jr. chipped in with 22 points. Jeff Green led the Celtics with 27 points, and Kris Humphries and Jerryd Bayless added 15 each.
Since Boston has been playing terrific basketball lately, winning two of their last three, it was mightily important to get back on track in the tanking competition. The Celtics had an easy task against the Indiana Pacers, but the Knicks are a difficult team to lose to. Thankfully, Rajon Rondo does not play in back-to-back games, so this made the task at hand more reachable.
The Celtics now remain in position to land a top five pick in the draft. Of course, we all know the lottery dictates the draft positions, but this certainly gives Boston a decent amount of ping-pong balls; it is nice to see that all is going according to plan. A high draft pick opens many doors for the organization. It becomes a valuable asset that can be used in a trade to land a high-caliber player, or the Celtics could, with a little bit of luck, select a future star with that particular pick. The 2014 draft is going to be special, so it is an appropriate year to tank.
The Celtics not only helped themselves in the standings, but also helped the Knicks’ playoff push. New York, with a rather unchallenging schedule ahead, is in prime position to sneak into the playoffs. The Knicks are far too talented to miss the postseason to begin with, especially in the Eastern Conference.
So, it was a great night for both sides. The Celtics hold on in the lottery race, while the Knicks continue their playoff surge. Let’s hope the Celtics can get the job done in their next few games.