The New York Knicks let a prime opportunity to beat the Boston Celtics get away from them last night succumbing 115-87. Despite playing in front of a hostile crowd at TD Garden, but with the added bonus of the Celtics being short two regulars in Al Horford and Jae Crowder, they most certainly could have won.
The game itself was officiated in a subpar and inconsistent manner, however the Knicks did not lose because of that. Carmelo Anthony being ejected toward the late minutes of the 3rd quarter did not help either, but even after his dismissal from the contest the Knicks still had a chance.
The deciding factor was the Celtics grit and toughness. They controlled the game from start to finish. The Knicks out-rebounded the Celtics on the offensive glass quite decidedly, but turnovers negated those advantages. The Celtics just wanted it more and it showed; and this is not to say that the Knicks did not play hard because they did, they just weren't smart enough at times.
You have to take care of the ball! The Celtics make you work hard for everything and you can't make it easy for them by giving them extra possessions. Charles Barkley on TNT Thursday night said it best: "The good teams in the NBA have an identity." The Celtics without a doubt have theirs, the Knicks on the other hand are still searching for their own.