Short slate in the NBA on Monday with four games and when the Boston Celtics visit the rival New York Knicks at 7:30 p.m. ET, the NBA-best Celtics will be without All-Star Jaylen Brown and perhaps guard Derrick White as well.
Celtics Without Jaylen Brown In Potential NBA Playoff Preview Vs. Knicks Monday
When: Monday, February 27th
Where: Madison Square Garden, NY
Time: 7:30 PM EST
TV: NBA League Pass
Brown, averaging 26.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists, has been ruled for personal reasons. In two games this year against the Knicks, Brown is averaging 26 points and seven rebounds. He’s been a critical part of the loaded Celtics posting a league-best 44-17 record. Boston is the lone team in the NBA with 20 road victories. Brown has been playing with a mask since his facial fracture shortly before the All-Star break but it’s not thought that is the reason for this. Brown and Jayson Tatum have each scored 30 points in the same game nine times this season. Over the last 30 years, the only duo to record more such games in a single season is Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal (10 in 2000-01, 12 in 2002-03).
Even with Brown out of the lineup, the Celtics can’t afford any letdowns as they are in a battle for the top spot in the Eastern Conference with the Milwaukee Bucks, who sit only a half game behind Boston.
White is the only Celtic player to play in every single contest so far this year and is probable tonight due to a right ankle sprain. If White is available, he should start for Brown. White drew 13 straight starts heading into the All-Star break and posted 18.5 points, 5.6 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and 0.8 steals in 34.1 minutes during that stretch.
Boston comes off a wild 110-107 win in Philadelphia on Saturday. Jayson Tatum buried a go-ahead three-pointer with 1.3 seconds left. Over the last five seasons, Tatum has nine game-tying or go-ahead field goal inside the final 5.0 seconds of the 4th quarter and OT, the most in the NBA during that span.
Tatum has scored the most total points in the NBA this season with 1,734 points and has made the fifth-most three-pointers with 189. He is one of two players in the league averaging at least 30.0 points per game with less than 3.0 turnovers (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander). The only Celtic to lead the league in total points scored was Paul Pierce, who scored 2,144 points in the 2001-02 season.
Malcolm Brogdon owns the best three-point percentage in the NBA this season with a career single-season-high 46.5 percent. Three Celtics rank within the top-15, including No. 7 Al Horford (43.0) and No. 12 Sam Hauser (41.9). Brogdon is one of three players in the league averaging at least 14.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists off the bench this season while his 764 total points ranks fifth among NBA reserves.
New York won its fifth in a row Saturday, 128-106 over New Orleans. One night removed from scoring a season-high 46 in a win over the Wizards, Randle kept rolling along on Saturday with 28 points. He’s now scored 22 points or more in three straight and 10 of his last 11 games.
RJ Barrett shot 8-of-13 from the field and 5-of-5 from the foul line for 25 points. They were the most points he’s scored in a game since a Feb. 2 win over the Heat (30 points), and that was also the last time Barrett scored 25 or more in a game while also shooting better than 50% from the field. Jalen Brunson added 20 points.
Brunson ranks second in the NBA with 127 clutch points, trailing only De’Aaron Fox who has 157 points. Brunson is shooting 50% including 40% from downtown during clutch time with only four turnovers. Brunson is also one of two players in the NBA averaging at least 23.5 points, 6.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds while shooting at least 48% FG and 40% 3PT. Steph Curry is the other.
The Celtics and Knicks have split two meetings this season. They last played on Jan. 26 in Boston and the Knicks won 120-117. Randle had 37 points and nine rebounds, and hit the free throws that gave New York the lead for good. Brunson added 29 points, seven assists and a game-ending blocked shot for the Knicks. Boston’s Brown had a chance to put the Celtics ahead with 7.6 seconds remaining, but misfired on two free throws, forcing the Celtics to foul. Tatum finished with 35 points and 14 rebounds.
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