With 10 three-pointers, Evan Fournier was the catalyst for the Knicks as New York came back from down as much as 25 in front of their fans—punctuated by an RJ Barrett game-winning heave.

Can we get Knicks versus Celtics, on national television, in Madison Square Garden, 82 times a year? They’ve been two of the best regular-season games all year!

The New York Knicks (19-20) defeated the Boston Celtics (18-21) by a final score of 108-105 in dramatic fashion in yet another Game of the Year candidate between the division rivals. RJ Barrett overcame an overall rough game by banking in a three at the buzzer to give the Knicks the massive win, completing a 25-point comeback.

RJ Barrett struggled mightily all game, especially going to the rim, but in the end, it didn’t matter. Barrett could not get anything going with Boston center Robert Williams III commanding the paint, rejecting him four times out of his seven blocks in tonight’s contest. One of the lefty’s flaws as a prospect coming out of Duke was his tunnel vision when attacking the basket, and games like tonight are a reminder he still has a way to go developing that aspect of his game.

But one of Barrett’s biggest strengths is his perseverance—many other 21-year-old’s struggling on such a big stage would have mailed it in, but not the rising star. Late in the fourth out of a baseline out of bounds play, Tom Thibodeau trusted him enough to put the ball in his hands to run a pick-and-roll with Mitchell Robinson, leading to a perfectly placed lob giving the Knicks the late lead, and then Thibodeau put the ball in his hands to take the final shot, and the rest is history. This is truly his defining moment thus far in his career.

Although the end was as thrilling as it comes, this was the definition of a roller coaster of a game.

The first half, especially the second quarter, was completely dominated by the Celtics. As a team, they went nuclear from beyond the arc, making 11 triples in the half and shooting 55.8% from the field overall. New York had no answer for Dennis Schröder, who led the way with 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting in the half for Boston. Former Celtic Evan Fournier outdueled Schröder with 19 first-half points and made four of the Knicks’ six threes, single-handedly keeping New York in striking distance going into the half down 63-47.

The Celtics went up 19 points again in the second half, after going up as much as 25 in the first, but the Knicks kept clawing their way back one Fournier three at a time.

Julius Randle’s aggressiveness and Quickley and Fournier’s hot shooting catapulted the Knicks to another massive comeback late in the third quarter. The Knicks ended the third on a 16-3 run, and Quickley converted on another three to begin the fourth, resulting in a Celtics time out with a score of 84-82.

Then, the Fournier show hit its final act in the fourth quarter.

The Frenchmen simply had one of the all-time Madison Square Garden regular season performances. He ended the game with 41 points, making 10-of-14 three-point field goals, tying a franchise record held by former Knicks Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith. The confidence and intensity that he played with tonight, and honestly every game against the Celtics, was infectious. In three games against Boston this season, Evan Fournier is averaging 35.0 points per game, 6.7 three-pointers made while having shooting splits of 55.4% and 54.1%.

Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett gave Fournier help to end the game, though. A patented banked-in Quickley floater gave the Knickerbockers the 103-101 lead late. Celtics star tied the game at 105 with a mid-range pull-up with 2.2 seconds left, and then Barrett gave the Knicks their biggest win of the season. Quickley ended tonight’s contest 16 off the bench, but his impact in the second-half resurgence goes way beyond the box score.

New York heads to Boston for their fourth and final matchup with the Celtics this Saturday on NBA TV with a chance to get back to .500 on the season.

Tonight’s game will be one the city is talking about for quite some time.

 

Related Content

»READ: Can Tom Thibodeau get the Knicks back on track?

»READ: Evan Fournier’s time to prove his worth is now or never

»READ: The biomechanics background behind RJ Barrett’s up-and-down season