NBA regular season

Celtics roll past Knicks in matchup of COVID-ravaged teams

Celtics roll past Knicks in matchup of COVID-ravaged teams

ALL OUT. Celtics guard Jaylen Brown passes the ball past Knicks' Evan Fournier during the second half.

Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

A combined 12 players between New York and Boston are in the NBA's health and safety COVID-19 protocols

Josh Richardson scored 27 points, Jayson Tatum finished with 25 and 9 rebounds and the Boston Celtics held off the visiting New York Knicks, 114-107, in a matchup of COVID-ravaged teams on Saturday night, December 18 (Sunday, December 19, Manila time).

Jaylen Brown contributed 23 points, Payton Pritchard added 16, and Robert Williams III scored 15 with 8 rebounds for the Celtics. Boston won for the second time in three games after losing four of its previous five.

Former Celtics guards Evan Fournier (32 points) and Kemba Walker (29 points) led the Knicks in their return to Boston. Julius Randle totaled 20 points, 9 boards, and 7 assists and Alec Burks scored 19 for New York, which has dropped eight of 10.

A combined 12 players between New York and Boston were sidelined for the game in the NBA’s health and safety COVID-19 protocols.

Knicks guards RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Miles McBride and Quinten Grimes, and forwards Obi Toppin and Kevin Knox II all missed the game in COVID protocol. Derrick Rose (sore right ankle) was also sidelined for New York.

Boston had only 10 active players with center Al Horford, forwards Grant Williams, Jabari Parker, Juancho Hernangomez and Sam Hauser, and guard Brodric Thomas in the protocol. Guards Dennis Schroder (non-COVID illness) and Romeo Langford (neck pain) were also out.

Boston led by as many as 16 in the first half and held a 62-47 advantage at halftime.

New York opened the third quarter on a 15-2 run and outscored the hosts 41-24 in the period to taken an 88-86 lead after three.

Richardson’s three-pointer with 10:16 remaining put the Celtics ahead 91-89 and sparked a 16-8 surge to push their lead to seven. Burks’ trey with 4:15 left pulled the Knicks within 105-102 before back-to-back layups by Williams III.

A 9-5 push to end the game sealed the win for Boston.

Boston plays the fourth of five straight games at home against Philadelphia on Monday. New York opens a three-game homestand versus Detroit on Tuesday night. –