The New York Knicks stifled the Boston Celtics in a dramatic comeback on Thursday evening led by Julius Randle and Evan Fournier. However, there was no bigger moment than RJ Barrett heaving up a shot with 1.5 seconds left on the clock to win the game, using the backboard as his best friend.
The very moment Barrett’s shot careened off the backboard and into the net, MSG erupted into a frenzy of excitement and energy. Despite the Knicks struggling at home this year, the crowd willed them back into a game they were down by double digits at one point, fighting back from 20+ points down in the second half.
RJ BARRETT BANGARANGGGGGG pic.twitter.com/QEjyxX4S2w
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) January 7, 2022
The Knicks heavily relied on Randle and Fournier, who combined for 63 points. Randle posted 22 on his own, picking up eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals in the win. Fournier was electrifying, though, splashing contested shots one after another, finishing with 41 points, eight rebounds, and two assists. He shot 10 of 14 from three-point range, his best mark of the season despite displaying wild inconsistencies this year.
RJ Barrett contributed 13 of his own, including the game’s most important shot, picking up six assists in the process. Off the bench, Immanuel Quickley recorded 16 points, three assists, and two rebounds, hitting 3 of 5 shots from deep.
Altogether, New York shot 50% from three-point range while Boston hit 37.8%. While they shot just 66.7% from the free-throw line, they managed to get the job done, scoring 108 points compared to Boston’s 105.
Representing one of the team’s most resilient comebacks of the season, the Knicks have now strung together two consecutive wins since Julius Randle bounced back from the NBA’s health and safety protocols last week.
The Knicks will take on the Boston Celtics once more on Saturday evening at 7:30 PM, but they will travel to the TD Garden after hosting at MSG.
Tom Thibodeau desperately needed his team to overcome a tough squad and showcase their quality. While the Knicks did struggle at times defensively in the win on Thursday night, their offense carried them to victory, attesting to why Fournier was given a four-year, $73 million deal this past off-season. They still need the French native to be more consistent moving forward, as he can be the catalyst to winning games, especially when the team is fighting back from a deficit.