The Boston Celtics rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat the New York Knicks 101-99 on Wednesday night, led by Jaylen Brown’s 32 points and 10 rebounds.
Jayson Tatum had eight turnovers but ended up with 25 points and ten rebounds. For the Celtics, who have won three straight, Marcus Smart added 17 points, 14 in the fourth quarter, and nine assists.
Brown said he and Tatum discussed not dwelling on Tuesday’s 10-point loss to Philadelphia before the game.
“I just needed to be Jaylen. And our team played great tonight,” Brown said.
Brown and Tatum came on the heels of Tristan Thompson’s seven points, eight rebounds, and three blocks in his return after missing 12 games due to the league’s health and safety protocols. Coach Brad Stevens was pleased with his team’s physical play on a consistent basis.
“That was what we’re used to kind of a grind-out Celtic win, which is what we’ve been about when we’re at our best,” Stevens said.
RJ Barrett hit 6-of-6 3-pointers and scored 29 points for the Knicks, who have lost two straight by two points and five of six overall. Julius Randle chipped in with 22 points and nine rebounds.
“We’re fine,” Randle said. “We’re not going to get much out of frustration. We’ve got to figure out what the problem is and figure out how to solve it.”
The day began with New York and Boston tied for seventh place in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The game was competitive throughout, with eight ties and 17 lead changes.
The Celtics trailed by seven points early in the fourth quarter before going on a 7-0 run to take the lead, 87-85.
It was 91-88 when Tatum intercepted a pass, resulting in a dunk by Randle on the other end.
Smart missed a three-pointer as New York appeared to take the lead, but Barrett’s pass was intercepted by Grant Williams, resulting in a layup by Brown that made it 93-90 with 1:02 remaining.
Barrett tied the game with a 3-pointer, and Smart responded with a 3-pointer of his own. Alec Burks missed a step-back three, and the Celtics won it at the free-throw line.
Thompson added tenacity to the rotation by keeping plays alive, attacking the paint, and getting to the foul line early. In 11 minutes of action, he had seven points, five rebounds, and a block.
For the second game in a row, Boston struggled with turnovers. The Celtics turned the ball over 20 times, allowing New York to score 21 points.
Barrett was the most active for the Knicks early on, hitting all three of his three-point attempts and scoring 16 points in the first half.
Coach Tom Thibodeau expects the second-year guard to become even more important as the season progresses.
“There’s still a lot of room for growth and a lot of work that needs to go into it. But I like his approach from the summer,” Thibodeau said. “I’m very pleased with his overall progress and I think he’ll continue to grow.” –ESPN