Celtics Knicks Basketball

Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis gestures to the crowd after scoring a basket in the first half of Boston’s 116-102 win over the Knicks on Saturday in New York. Porzingis was booed by the New York crowd for much of the game. Peter K. Afriyie/Associated Press

NEW YORK — As the Boston Celtics keep picking up victories at 45-12, their lead in the East has ballooned to eight games over the second-place Cleveland Cavaliers. The Celtics also have a five-game lead over the best team in the West, the Minnesota Timberwolves. Boston has gone 32-6 against Eastern Conference teams.

All in all, they have a comfortable edge on the road to home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. The Celtics, however, aren’t letting their league-best record get to their heads. Instead, Jaylen Brown said they’re unbothered by the standings.

“When it comes down to the playoffs, none of that stuff really matters,” Brown said. “I feel like it’s gonna be about matchups, it’s going to be about playing hard. Obviously, home court matters, so that is key. But when you get into the thick of it, you gotta win basketball games regardless of what your seed is. If anything, it puts more pressure on you. But I think we’re an experienced team. We’ve been in these situations before and I think we’re ready.”

While the playoffs are still two months away, it’s natural for the Celtics to think ahead. Realistically, their season will be judged on their playoff performance. While an impressive record will live on in the history books, it won’t mean much unless the Celtics hang banner No. 18.

There is still value in the final months of the regular season. The Celtics still have to incorporate new guys Xavier Tillman and Jaden Springer through games and practices. Elsewhere, they can still tinker with certain looks or their roster while they keep winning games. The Celtics will also try to stay locked in ahead of the playoffs.

“It’s just the way kind of the season has gone,” Celtics veteran Al Horford said. “We’ve kind of held our own, continue to work through things. Obviously, Sixers have injuries. Different teams have different stuff going on. So that all goes into account. But I can just speak to we’re continuing to play good basketball. We’re really trying to play the right way. And I feel like Joe is really challenging us to continue to get better. This is a stretch of the season where we can really take it to another level, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”


IT HAS BEEN five years since the Knicks traded Kristaps Porzingis but there’s still no love lost between the New York fanbase and the big man.

The Celtics center was booed repeatedly by the Madison Square Garden crowd Saturday during Boston’s 116-102 win over the Knicks. Porzingis bounced back from a slow start in  to post 22 points, four rebounds and four assists to help Boston earns its eighth straight win.

The boos were so loud and constant for Porzingis throughout the night, they served as fuel for Boston, according to Jrue Holiday.

“Love it,” Holiday told Abby Chin of NBC Sports Boston of the Porzingis boos. “He loves it, we love it. It definitely boosts the energy and morale. We love to hear it. There were also Celtics chants.”

Holiday (12 points, 6 assists) was one of six Celtics players who finished in double figures. Boston shot 57.5 percent from the field, their second-best shooting performance in a game this season. The Knicks were down three starters in the loss but it’s safe to say the vitriol towards Porzingis came back to haunt Knicks fans.

“It felt good, especially in MSG, to be able to play here and do it in front of this crowd,” Holiday said. “When it falls, it always feels great.”

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.