Immanuel Quickley played 55 minutes and led the Knicks to a double-overtime win over the Celtics, marking New York’s ninth consecutive victory.
The short-handed New York Knicks (39-27) faced off one final time this season against the Boston Celtics (45-20) and were able to pull out what was probably their most impressive victory of the season. Despite Jalen Brunson missing the game with foot soreness, the Knicks won a double-overtime thriller 131-129 for their ninth consecutive victory thanks in large part to Immanuel Quickley and his outstanding game.
Riding an eight-game win streak, the Knicks got off to a quick start in the opening quarter. It was a positive sign for the Brunson-less ‘Bockers. This time around it was R.J. Barrett that got things cooking early in the first quarter, scoring 14 points. Not far behind was Julius Randle, who poured in 10 points of his own to keep the Knicks on pace with the Celtics. After a poor performance versus New York in their last meeting that included an ejection, Jayson Tatum made sure to make his presence felt early, leading the way for Boston with 16 points as the Celtics led 34-31 after the opening quarter.
The second quarter started off as a back-and-forth affair as both teams were trading buckets and making defensive plays. The pace began to devolve however and things turned into a sloppy combination of turnovers and fouls. The Celtics would finish an ugly second quarter on an 11-0 run to take a 61-54 lead into the half. Even with starting center Robert Williams out, Boston dominated the rebounding in the first half, especially on the offensive glass, besting the Knicks 11-6 on that end. The Celtics also dominated the Knicks on fast break points 14-4 when getting out in the open floor.
In the third quarter, the Celtics took full control of the game, building a double-digit lead. The frustration boiled over for the Knicks as Julius Randle was assessed his seventh technical foul of the season for arguing with an official after protesting an offensive foul also called on him. Things didn’t get any easier for the Knicks as Boston’s role player started to come alive after a quiet first half.
The Celtics were able to keep the Knicks at bay with their outside shooting to start the second half but the Knicks, like they’ve been able to do so many times during their win streak, found another gear and completely took over the game in the final minutes of the quarter behind Quickley, who scored 11 points and was all over the place on the defensive end, recording a pair of blocks and a steal in the third. Randle capped off an incredible 9-0 Knicks run with a buzzer-beater three-pointer to give the Knicks an 88-87 going into the fourth quarter.
The Knicks kept up the momentum carrying their run from the third into the fourth building an 11-point lead over Boston early in the final period. The Celtics would not go away though as they stayed within striking distance of the Knicks and were able to tie the game with under four minutes to play. The Knicks, however, would go on a 7-0 run, the Celtics would not die, though, and tied the game late on a Jaylen Brown and-1 to send the game into overtime.
In the overtime period, both teams started over with threes from integral role players Marcus Smart and Josh Hart, respectively. Al Horford hit a triple to give the Celtics a two-point lead with 30 seconds left. Once again, Immanuel Quickley answered the call. He tied the score at 121 apiece, sending the game into a second overtime. IQ would keep things going and start the second OT with an off-the-bounce three-pointer followed by a wide-open dunk after a Celtics’ defensive breakdown.
Quickley, who did not sit the entire second half, scored the first seven Knick points in the second overtime and got them far enough ahead to hold on for the win. In 55 minutes, he finished with a career-high 38 points to go with eight rebounds and seven assists in his coming out party to a primetime audience. Barrett had 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Randle would finish with 31, and Mitchell Robinson would notch another double-double with 13 points and 14 assists.
Next up, the Knicks make a quick stop at home to face off against the lowly Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday before hitting the road for a west coast swing.