Celtics look to regain confidence against feisty Knicks

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Evan Fournier and the New York Knicks will look to carry over their momentum from a big comeback win against the Boston Celtics as the teams meet for the second time in three days on Saturday night in Boston.

Fournier had a career-high 41 points to help New York overcome a 25-point deficit in a 108-105 home win against Boston on Thursday.

R.J. Barrett sealed the Celtics’ fate on a banked-in 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the Knicks to a second straight win and their fifth in seven games.


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“Every time I shoot, I think it’s going in. That was crazy,” Barrett said. “Man, this was like a playoff game. It’s crazy — it was like the first game of the season, too. Whenever we play them, it’s a battle.”

New York outlasted Boston for a 138-134 double-overtime victory at home in the season opener for both teams on Oct. 20. The Celtics avenged the loss with a 114-107 home victory on Dec. 18 before coming up short against in New York.

On Thursday, Julius Randle contributed 22 points and eight rebounds while Immanuel Quickley scored 16 off the bench for the Knicks. Barrett finished with 13 points and six assists for New York.

Randle stole headlines for more than his play when he gave the hometown fans a thumbs down after making a basket in the fourth quarter during New York’s comeback.


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After the game, Randle said the gesture was a message to the fans for booing the team earlier in the game.

“Shut the (expletive) up,” Randle told ESPN when asked about the meaning of his gesture. “You saw that. You saw what was going on out there.”

Meanwhile, the Jayson Tatum-led Celtics will be trying to pick up the pieces after one of their worst collapses in franchise history.

The 25-point blown lead was the Celtics’ seventh-largest in a loss and most since the team squandered a 24-point lead in a defeat at New Orleans last Feb. 21.

Tatum finished with 36 points, nine assists and six rebounds and made a tying stepback jumper with just over one second to play.

Tatum’s co-star Jaylen Brown finished with only 16 points and seven rebounds. Brown was coming off a 30-point outing in Wednesday’s loss to San Antonio and scored a career-high 50 in an overtime win versus Orlando last Sunday.


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Dennis Schroder added 20 points off the Boston bench while Marcus Smart contributed 14 and five assists in the defeat.

The loss was the Celtics’ second in a row and their 11th in 17 games overall.

“It’s tough, but you know we’ve just got to regroup,” Tatum said. “Obviously losses — this stretch kind of is tough. You know, losing leads and just not finishing out in the fourth quarter.”

Boston dropped into the No. 11 seed in the Eastern Conference and has a lot of work to do to return to contender status.

“I think you’ve got to look at the big picture and the grand scheme of things and look back to those years when we was going to the conference finals,” Tatum said. “It makes you really appreciate those moments — because it’s hard.”

–Field Level Media



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