It was fitting that Kyrie Irving flirted with a triple-double in Boston’s 121-112 win over New York. Because as Boston focuses on finishing out the regular season well, they’re going to need Irving to deliver a little bit of everything.
And he did just that as Boston (42-19) has strung together back-to-back wins coming out of the all-star break, looking and playing like a very different – and better – team than the one we saw prior to the break which lost three straight and four of five.
Irving finished with 31 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, with most of his damage coming in the third quarter when he scored 15 points to go with four rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.
“The basket was still the same, the ball felt the same,” Irving told NBC Sports Boston following the Celtics win. “Probably leaving my fingers a little bit different; and on back-to-backs, getting my legs a little bit. So, just had to get it up a little more and see it go in once or twice, go to the free throw line and stay composed.”
Indeed, even as the Knicks put together one surge after another, Irving seemed to have an answer whether it’s driving to the basket and knocking down a big shot, or penetrating the Knicks defense and find a teammate for an easy basket whether it be a lay-up or a lob to Jaylen Brown for a dunk.
He gave the game what it needed.
And on this night, the game needed him to give a little bit of everything.
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 121-112 win over the New York Knicks which was the Celtics’ sixth win in their last eight appearances at Madison Square Garden.
Kyrie Irving: When it comes to picking one’s spots when to dominate, there are few in the NBA better at this than Kyrie Irving. He was hands-down the best player on the floor Saturdaynight and was on the cusp of a triple-double before finishing with 31 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Trey Burke: For those who thought Trey Burke’s NBA career was good as buried, think again. After flaming out with the Utah Jazz and the Washington Wizards, Burke appears to have rediscovered his game in New York. For most of the night, he was New York’s best option scoring the ball. He had 26 points in just under 27 minutes of court time, connecting on 10 of his 19 shot attempts.
Jaylen Brown: Irving’s backcourt mate was a problem all game for the New York Knicks. Jaylen Brown had a couple of nice dunks, jumpers and an overall strong night on several levels. He had 24 points on 10-for-17 shooting from the field.
Al Horford: This was a very solid, workmanlike game for the five-time All-star. He tallied his 14th double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds in addition to three blocked shots.
KNICKS 3-POINT SHOOTING: The numbers for Boston’s 3-point defense look a lot better than they played courtesy of New York missing some good looks from deep. For the game, the Knicks were just 6-for-22 shooting on 3’s.