There’s never a dull moment in New York City basketball.
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After a thrilling buzzer-beater courtesy of RJ Barrett, the 108-105 win over the Celtics at Madison Square Garden, sees the Knicks leapfrog Boston into the last play-in seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Knicks, who were down by as much as 25 to Boston (more on that later) were led by Evan Fournier’s career-high 41 points (10-of-14 from 3-point range), and Julius Randle chimed in with 22 points and eight rebounds.
Jayson Tatum led the way for Boston with 36 points but it wasn’t enough.
Let’s take a look at some of the evening’s most interesting stats.
10: Evan Fournier’s 3-pointers
Fournier was unconscious from long range, connecting on ten of his 14 attempts from long distance. The last Knick to be so prolific in a game from 3-point range? Of course, it’s J.R. Smith.
Smith knocked down 10 3’s against Miami in 2014.
35: Fournier’s points average this season vs. Knicks
In three games against the Celtics this season, Fournier is playing a hell of a lot better against his former club than he is against other teams.
Fournier has scored 30 or more just thrice this season and all those games have come against the Celtics.
10: Years since Knicks last game-winning buzzer-beater
Wow, it appears that a lot of things haven’t happened to the Knicks since J.R. Smith left – make of that what you will – but RJ Barrett’s game-winning buzzer-beater 3-pointer was the first since J.R. Smith iced this game for the Knicks in Phoenix way back in 2012.
He’s also the first Knicks player to make a game-winning buzzer-beater at MSG since David Lee in Dec. 2006. Each of the previous three Knicks game-winning buzzer-beaters were on the road.
Barrett had a poor shooting night against the C’s – he was just 3-of-14 from the field prior to the shot, but he clearly makes the most important ones, am I right?
16: Celtics clutch losses this season
Boston is starting to develop a tendency to lose focus during a game. This loss was the fourth time this season that they have lost a game when leading by 15 points or more – the only other side to do so is the Pelicans, and well, that speaks volumes.
Boston has lost six of their last seven games that went to clutch time (score within 5 points in last 5 minutes of the game), and well, that isn’t great either. Overall, the C’s have lost 16 of their 23 games that have gone to the clutch.
Needless to say, coach Ime Udoka was not pleased post-game.
“It’s been the same result. We lack some kind of mental toughness there,” he said. “We need someone to stay calm late. Not someone adding to it when things start to get sped up. At times it feels like everyone tries to do it on their own.”
The Celtics join the Lakers as the only teams to blow a 25-point lead this season.
2: Knicks’ 25-point comeback wins in last 25 seasons
When the Knicks go down big – specifically by 25 points or more – history suggests they won’t win the game.
The only other team to overturn a 25-point deficit this season was the Thunder coming from behind to beat the Lakers. The Celtics get a chance at a rematch with the Knicks in a couple of days on Saturday at TD Garden.
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