By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
KNICKS CELTICS | VERIZON WIRELESS ARENA
How it happened:
The Manchester, NH crowd that came to see the Celtics left happy on Saturday night. Boston had six players score in double figures and came away with a 111-81 win. The loss drops the Knicks record to 1-2 for the preseason.
But for the Orange and Blue, with Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Metta World Peace resting on this second game of a back-to-back, it was all about opportunity for those fighting for spots. And despite the final score, many made the most of it.
After a rough sart -- New York trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half -- they battled back to cut the deficit to three before Boston went on a run going into halftime. Andrea Bargnani got involved in the offense early, scoring 13 points and going 6-of-6 from the free throw line in the first half.
Ike Diogu was fantastic off the bench throughout the game. In the first half, his effort around the basket set the tone for a spirited comeback. All night, he bullied Celtics bigs and even mixed in some midrange jumpers, finishing with 21 points and seven rebounds on the night. After watching Cole Aldrich and Josh Powell perform in some limited looks, Diogu responded with a strong all-around showing.
As a team, the Knicks had a tough shooting night; some of it was the result of lineup combinations that hadn't played together, some was just shots not falling (Tim Hardaway Jr. went 3-for-16 from the floor). But they showed glimpses of defensive potential, led by the ball pressure of Iman Shumpert, Hardaway and Toure' Murry.
Murry was another bright spot. With Felton and Beno Udrih out, he played big minutes (31) for the first time this preseason and was solid -- just what they want from a backup guard. He struggled with the outside shot (0-for-5 from three), but he played defense, helped on the glass and scored 16 points.
Knick of the Night:
Ike Diogu. "Ike is really making a statement tonight." --Asst. coach Darrell Walker.
The Knicks return home to New York for a few days of practice before heading to Baltimore to play the Wizards.