Knicks’ small-ball lineup turned the tide in opening night win over Celtics

Obi Toppin throwing down a dunk, back to camera, white uniform, season opener

Obi Toppin tossing down a dunk, back to video camera, white uniform, season opener

Evan Fournier and Julius Randle assisted bring the Knicks in their double-OT win over Boston on Wednesday.

Fournier and Randle integrated for 67 points on almost half shooting; they each struck essential shots late in the Knicks’ season opener.

However Randle and Fournier don’t have an opportunity to strike those shots if the Knicks don’t go with a little lineup early in the 2nd half. The lineup – including Randle at center and Obi Toppin at power forward – altered the video game versus Boston.

New york city outscored the Celtics by 13 with Toppin and Randle on the court together. RJ Barrett had 14 points while playing with the smaller sized lineup.

“It got us going, got us in the open floor,” Tom Thibodeau stated after the win. The small-ball lineup outscored Boston by 15 points over an eight-minute period of the 3rd. They required a couple of turnovers and benefited from Toppin’s ability in shift.

The second-year forward had 2 strong surfaces in shift. When he wasn’t assaulting the rim, he was requiring the Celtics to rush by merely running the flooring.

“If we get a rebound, I’m taking off,” Toppin stated.

The Knicks most likely went with a smaller sized lineup on Wednesday due to injury. Nerlens Noel (knee) and Taj Gibson (individual) ran out the lineup. So it made good sense to attempt a lineup that included Randle and Toppin on the cutting edge.

Offered how well it worked, you question if Thibodeau will go to it even when his centers are healthy.

It plainly assists Toppin, who masters shift.

The Garden crowd shouted “Obi, Obi” a couple of times in the 2nd half following Toppin dunks.

The chant was an outcome of the day-to-day work Toppin put in over the summer season; he and Immanuel Quickley would train nearly daily at the Knick practice center.

If you listened to Toppin enough over the summer season, you might not have actually been shocked by his play on Wednesday. Toppin reiterated and once again in the offseason that he was inspired to play better this season than he did as a novice.

If Wednesday night was any sign, Toppin needs to have the ability to reach that objective.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.