Red-hot Knicks keep defying belief with gritty win over Celtics


This time they were on the road, in a hostile environment as the NBA allowed. This time, they were the ones who lost a star. This time, it was the other team, the Celtics, who had something to prove, as they were pretty salty after being humiliated by the Nets two nights ago.

And it didn’t matter.

It didn’t matter.

The Knicks beat the Celtics in double overtime Sunday night at TD Garden. The final score was 131-129. The final seconds were a sweaty, hazy, throbbing crowd, and the scene afterward was as sweet as it gets at New York games: the immediate evacuation of the Garden, the exodus of 19,156 sons and daughters of New England, all of them red— Confronted and angry and asking the old question asked once a day by Butch and Sundance.

“Who are those people?”

They are the piping-hot Knicks, who have now won nine games in a row, winning white-knuckle, holy-cow-did-you-see-that games leading to a weekend road trip in Miami and Boston. The Heat and the Celtics. The fact that they did this Sunday without Jalen Brunson, their do-everything point guard?

yes This probably explains Mr. and Mrs. Sully’s particularly red faces and particularly angry disposition as they stormed out of the arena for a tee.

Emmanuel quickly celebrates during the Knicks’ win over the Celtics on Sunday.
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“We got some dogs on this team,” said a delighted Emmanuel Quickley.

It was Quickley who made much of it possible, Quickley, who replaced Brunson (sore foot) in the starting lineup, who played 55 minutes and scored a career-high 38 points to go along with seven assists, eight rebounds and four Steele added, Quickley, who sent the game into a second overtime with a floater with 13 seconds left in OT, and Quickley, who scored the Knicks’ first five points in the second, a quick lead they never relinquished.

“It was a great performance by him,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He stepped up, made big plays, made big shots, played great defense.”

It was, but really it was a massive performance by all. Julius Randle followed up his incredible 43-point outburst against the Heat on Friday with 31 more Sunday. RJ Barrett had 29 points and 11 rebounds. Mitch Robinson had 13 points and 14 rebounds.

And on the last play of the game, after being continuously burned by Boston center Al Horford, who had made six 3s as Robinson continued to help up the middle, he ran to Horford in the corner as Jayson Tatum (game) succeeded -high 40) bowled him.

RJ Barrett (l.) and Emmanuel Quickley celebrate during the Knicks’ win in Boston on Sunday night.
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Robinson was enough of a distraction.

Horford’s shot was short.

Josh Hart skied to grab the rebound, the buzzer blared, and TD Garden was immediately silenced except for the joyous celebration of five Knicks on the floor — Randle raising his arms, Barrett pumping his fists. , quickly running to the other side of the court – and the rest of the traveling party on the bench.

Tom Thibodeau reacts during the Knicks' win over the Celtics on March 5.
Tom Thibodeau reacts during the Knicks’ win over the Celtics on March 5.
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They all have the time of their lives.

“I want our team to have fun, and have fun, but I don’t want it to get lost and twisted,” said Thibodeau, always ready to be overly sarcastic. “Winning is more fun than fun.”

Sunday, the Knicks had both. They saw the Celtics blow a 14-point third-quarter lead then come roaring back to take an 11-point lead in the fourth. They blew the game at the end of regulation, then redeemed themselves by pulling it back at the end of overtime, and finally doubled up by closing out the game.

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Mitchell Robinson of the Knicks grabs a rebound on Sunday.

“I’m glad we found a way to win,” Thibodeau said. “The Celtics have had a great season, they’re a great team, we knew we had to be at our best for the whole game. Every time they got down they fought back and eventually found a way out.

It was their 39th win of the season; When they score 40, perhaps Tuesday against Charlotte at the Garden, it will be just the fourth time since 2001 that they have done so. They have won 12 of 14, a stretch that includes two wins over the Celtics, Nets and Heat, and victories over the 76ers, Jazz, Hawks and Pelicans.

“You can’t ask for more,” Quickley said, though he knew better. Nicks is no longer a cute story. They’re a legit team, and you might want to ask the crowd of Celtics fans in Legends Way on your way home after watching your C’s lose the season series 3-1 to New York:

“Do you want to see the Knicks in the playoffs?”

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