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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – RJ Barrett #9 of the New York Knicks is congratulated after making the winning shot as time expires with a 108-105 win against the Boston Celtics during their game at Madison Square Garden on January 06, 2022 in New York City. (Photo : Al Bello/Getty Images)
RJ Barrett knocked down one of the biggest shots of his NBA career, drilling a banked 3-pointer as time expired to give the New York Knicks a dramatic 108-105 win over the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden. It was a huge victory for the Knicks, who climbed to 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings with a 19-21 slate.
Fournier, Barrett take center stage for New York
Barrett had missed 10 of his 14 field goal attempts before hitting his late game-winner. He finished the game with 13 points, six assists, and three rebounds in 33 minutes of action. Apart from Barrett, three other Knicks players scored in double figures.
The one who stole the show at MSG was Evan Fournier. He scored a career-high 41 points on 15 of 25 shooting from the field. Fournier was particularly deadly from beyond the arc, knocking down 10 of his 14 3-point attempts. In a brilliant all-around performance, he also had eight rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block.
Julius Randle was solid down low, racking up 22 points and eight rebounds against the Celtics. Immanuel Quickley provided the firepower off the bench, scoring 16 points and dishing out three assists.
The Knicks entered the game against the Celtics with one of the worst home records in the NBA. This season, the Knicks had won just eight of their 19 games at MSG. It looked like they were on their way to another heavy defeat in the Big Apple, with the Celtics getting off to a roaring start. After the first quarter, they built a 25-18 lead and stretched that advantage to 24 points with 1:16 left in the second quarter.
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Knicks erase huge deficit in second half
However, the Knicks responded with an 8-0 run to finish the second quarter. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Barrett and Fournier brought New York to within 10 points to open the second half. The Celtics answered right back, embarking on an 18-8 run to re-establish their 20-point advantage with 5:33 left in the third quarter.
Some teams could have folded right there but not these Knicks, who finished the third quarter on a 16-3 run to slice Boston’s lead to just seven points. The Knicks continued to pile on the pressure in the fourth quarter, with Fournier’s long jumper finally tying the game at 96 all with 4:04 remaining.
The Knicks then tasted their first lead with 2:06 left following a deep bomb by Fournier. That set the stage for the dramatic finish, with both teams trading baskets in the final two minutes of the contest. Jayson Tatum was clutch for the Celtics, scoring 36 points, including a game-tying step-back jumper with just over a second left on the clock.
Barrett made sure the game would not go to overtime with his tough 3-pointer off the glass at the buzzer. The Celtics dropped to 11th place in the Eastern Conference with the loss, now sporting an 18-21 record.
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