These two old rivals could very well meet again in the NBA’s one-game, play-in event. Maybe the Falling Knicks could turn this recent heartache into something gratifying.
Another defensive slug party became bitter and sour at the end as the Celtics recovered from a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter and marked a 101-99 victory over the Knicks in TD Garden on Wednesday.
The Knicks have lost five out of six games and are now 2-8 in competitions settled with three or fewer points this season. Losing nailbiters to top teams has been their latest modus operandi. Just ask Nets, Sixers and Heat.
“It’s annoying to lose those two-point games, ”
A wide-open Marcus Smart hit the 3-pointer with 35 seconds left to break the tie. Knicks shooting guard Reggie Bullock decided to double Jayson Tatum (25 points) on the game and leave Smart open. The Knicks paid the price.
“Every time you commit to putting two on the ball, you have to understand what you are willing to do – you become vulnerable in another area,” Knicks coach Thibodeau said. “You do not want to give up open shots. And then they have two dynamic scores in Tatum and [Jaylen] Brown. So you go in with your game plan. You know that, especially in the fourth quarter, you should be required to put two on them so that’s part of it. ”
There was no Knicks magic left after that. After Smart’s dagger, the Knicks’ sixth man Alec Burks missed a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left. Down four, the Burks were denied again and were blocked on a drive in the lane by 10 seconds to go to to reduce the loss.
“I do not know if that is part of the trend,” Thibodeau said of the wireless defeats. “Usually you can find out why you are either winning or losing. It was a hard fought game. We felt that one of the big keys would come back and obviously hurt us. ”
In fact, the Knicks’ dominance on the boards is evaporating this season. Boston beat them, 61-47, and collected 16 offensive rebounds. One of them came down the stretch when Smart caught an airball downstairs and put it in – a giant bucket with two minutes left.
“I think the defensive glass hurt us,” said Julius Randle. “We just came to when the shot goes up, find corpse. Take care of the glass that way. We knew we were a great offensive rebound team going in and it turned out today. We need to lock more. ”
If the season was over now, the Celtics and Knicks met in No. 7 vs. No. 8 play-in games in the NBA’s new format to qualify for the actual playoffs.
The Celtics are now in seventh place 26-26. The Knicks dropped to eighth place at 25-27, with the Grizzlies on tap in the yard on Friday.
The Knicks jumped a seven-point lead in the final 8:12 – and the defeat spoiled Barrett’s gem. Barrett shot 6-for-6 on 3-pointers to finish with 29 points. However, Barrett also committed an expensive turnover. He lost his dribble in the left corner, leading to a brown quick break layup to put the Celtics in the lead at 93-90 with 1:01 left.
“We lost,” Barrett said without consolation in his perfect deep shooting night.
Randle put up big numbers – 22 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals – and led an increase in the third quarter with a series of quick buckets. But in the end, he only went 9-for-23 off the field.
Randle denied that his thigh injury hampered him at all.
“Not too frustrated,” Randle said of the Knicks’ 1-5 stretch. “We are not going to get too much out of frustration. We need to find out what the problem is and find out. ”
Thibodeau knows it’s coming again at the moment. Former Cavalier Tristian Thompson (three offensive boards) made a number on the Knicks in the first half on the glass, with Boston’s gravel compensating for not having point guard Kemba Walker, who does not play back-to-back due to a bad knee.
“They actually started small,” Thibodeau said. “But their speed to the ball and we knew with Thompson coming back that it would be a factor. So you have to finish your defense. ”