New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) drives to the basket to score as Boston Celtics center Al Horford, right, defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
BOSTON — The Knicks are a young team that’s still learning how to string together victories.
They’re hoping to bottle several lessons from their latest outing.
Julius Randle had 37 points and nine rebounds, and hit the free throws that gave New York the lead for good in a 120-117 overtime win over the East-leading Boston Celtics on Thursday night.
Jalen Brunson added 29 points, seven assists and a game-ending blocked shot for the Knicks, who have won two straight. RJ Barrett had 19 points and Immanuel Quickley finished with 17 points and five rebounds.
“We held our own,” Barrett said. “We played together and we played hard. We got the good result.”
Boston’s Jaylen Brown had a chance to put the Celtics ahead with 7.6 seconds remaining, but misfired on two free throws, forcing the Celtics to foul.
“Just got to be better,” Brown said. “Tonight was just a rough game and I’m a better basketball player than I played today. Those two free throws embodied the whole game for me.”
Jayson Tatum, who was voted an All-Star game starter for the third consecutive season prior to tip-off, finished with 35 points and 14 rebounds. Brown added 22 points and nine rebounds for Boston, which has lost three straight for just the second time this season.
New York led by 13 in the fourth quarter but scored just four points in the final 5:26 of regulation to help the Celtics send the game to OT.
Randle said he never saw panic in his teammates’ eyes during the Celtics’ comeback.
“Just poise,” he said. “We’ve been in those type of situations all year. So I feel like we’re getting more and more comfortable in those situations.”
Boston scored the first five points of the extra frame. New York responded by scoring the next six, taking a 116-115 lead on Barrett’s 3-pointer from the wing.
“I didn’t have a good shooting night, but I was ready to take that shot,” Barrett said. “I feel like we’re getting more comfortable in those situations.”
Brown nudged the Celtics back in front with a driving layup out of a timeout with 24 seconds remaining. Randle’s two free throws then put New York back in front for good at 118-117.
Boston had a final chance to tie but Brunson blocked Malcolm Brogdon’s 3-point try.
Tatum hit his first five shots of the night. He struggled in the second and third quarters but had 11 in the fourth quarter to lead Boston’s rally.
The Celtics struggled to find an offensive flow throughout, shooting 41% with 13 turnovers.
The Knicks outscored the Celtics 33-25 in the third quarter and took a six-point edge into the fourth.
The lead grew to 102-89 on a pair of free throws by Miles McBride with just over seven minutes to play. The Celtics charged back and had a chance to win it regulation, but Tatum missed a 19-footer and Robert Williams had his follow shot blocked as time expired.
Knicks: Randle had a driving, one-handed dunk over Tatum late in the third that was part of a 14-5 run to put New York in front 87-78. . … Outscored the Celtics 48-42 in the paint. … Evan Fournier missed his second straight game (personal reasons).
Celtics: Dropped to 18-6 at home, with three of those defeats coming in overtime. … Marcus Smart sat for the third straight game with a sprained right ankle. Interim coach Joe Mazzulla said he is wearing a special sock to help reduce swelling. He remains day-to-day. … Boston hit 7 of their first 9 attempts from the field and led by as many as 15 points in the first quarter. They finished the period by hitting 5 of their final 18 shots and held a 60-58 halftime lead. … Tuesday marked the Celtics’ 6,000th regular-season game.
MILWAUKEE — Whether or not Boston catches the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference standings, the Celtics will have reason to feel confident if the teams meet in the playoffs for a second straight season.
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