Celtics-Knicks takeaways: Jaylen powers…

Celtics-Knicks takeaways: Jaylen powers offensive surge in C’s win originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Three Key Storylines

C’s shoot the lights out at MSG
Jaylen Brown sets the tone
Six Celtics with multiple assists

The buzzsaw that is the Boston Celtics rolled through Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.

The Celtics shot nearly 60 percent from the field and hit 42.9 percent of their 3-pointers en route to a 116-102 road victory over the New York Knicks that extended their winning streak to eight games. They’ve won three consecutive games by double digits, are 16-3 in their last 19 contests and own an eight-game lead as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Jaylen Brown led Boston with 30 points, ex-Knick Kristaps Porzingis added 22 and Jayson Tatum racked up 19 points, six rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block.

Six Celtics scored in double figures, while Jalen Brunson (34 points) was the only player with more than 16 points for a Knicks team missing Julius Randle, OG Anunoby and Mitchell Robinson.

Next up for the Celtics (45-12) is a showdown with the East rival Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday at TD Garden. Before that matchup, here are three takeaways from Boston’s win over New York.

Shooting the lights out

The Knicks actually played well through three quarters, but it’s hard to win when your opponent is hitting nearly 70 percent of its shots.

The Celtics were on a historic pace for much of this game, shooting a ridiculous 68 percent through three quarters with an 81.6 effective field goal percentage that was the fifth-best in the NBA since 1996-97, per Celtics stat guru Dick Lipe.

Boston only led the Knicks by four at halftime but hit 9 of 13 3-pointers as part of a 35-point third quarter that ballooned its lead to 13 and all but put the game away entering the fourth.

If it wasn’t for a 19-point fourth quarter in which they shot just 29.2 percent, the Celtics likely would have topped the 60 percent shooting mark for just the second time this season. Their offense is humming right now and is a big reason why they’ve won eight in a row.

Jaylen Brown, tone-setter

The Celtics lead the NBA in first-quarter points per game, and Brown is at the center of that success.

The three-time All-Star came out firing with 10 first-quarter points on 4 of 5 shooting as part of a 30-point frame for Boston. He stayed hot in the second quarter, entering halftime with 20 points on a scorching 9 for 12 shooting.

Brown is averaging 7.1 first-quarter points per game on 53 percent shooting, both tops on the Celtics. While Tatum is Boston’s best player, Brown often is the one setting the tone out of the gate, and he certainly did that Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

Spreading the wealth

The Celtics’ offensive balance might be their most dangerous weapon.

Not only did six C’s players score 10-plus points — the five starters and Al Horford — but six players also recorded at least two assists, with Tatum, Derrick White and Jrue Holiday tallying six assists apiece.

Boston’s ball movement was exceptional in this game, with Celtics players routinely passing up good shots for great ones as part of a 27-assist night.

All five of Boston’s starters are legitimate scoring threats, and when all five become willing playmakers as well, they’re nearly impossible to stop.

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