The New York Knicks should have been exactly what the doctor ordered for the Boston Celtics, but they were anything but that Wednesday night.
New York had been playing dreadful basketball during its six-game losing streak, but a different Knicks team showed up to TD Garden, as the Knicks jumped out to a 26-point lead midway through the second quarter.
It was the eighth time in the past nine games the Celtics had fallen behind by double digits, and once again they made a run in the second half, cutting the lead to three in the fourth quarter. But Trey Burke (29 points) capped his big night by drilling a 3-pointer with 12 seconds to play to end the C’s rally and give New York a 117-109 win.
Kyrie Irving led Boston with 22 points, while Marcus Morris (21), Al Horford (19), Gordon Hayward (19), Jayson Tatum (15) and Jaylen Brown (11) also scored in double figures for Boston.
With the loss, the Celtics fall to 9-9, while the Knicks improve to 5-14.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron Baynes
Both teams struggled from the field early in the game, with the Knicks owning a 15-11 edge halfway through the opening stanza despite shooting just 28 percent from the field. Boston wasn’t much better, connecting on 31 percent of their looks in the first six minutes.
New York extended its lead in the latter stages of the frame, going on an 11-3 run over 3:43 to take a 26-14 edge with under two to play in the quarter.
The Celtics got two baskets from Morris to end the quarter to cut the lead to 26-18 at the end of one. Noah Vonleh led all scorers with seven in the frame, while Tatum paced the C’s with five.
BOO BIRDS COME OUT
Things went from bad to worse for the Celtics early in the second.
New York opened the frame on a 14-6 run, capped by a Burke jumper to give the Knicks a 16-point lead with just under eight minutes to play. Boston continued to struggle offensively, going 2-for-8 in the first four minutes of the quarter. The Knicks took it to the Celtics throughout the second, extending their lead to 26 with 3:24 to play thanks to solid play from Burke, Vonleh and Enes Kanter.
Boston mounted a late run at the end of the frame, as Hayward scored six points in the final 1:35 to help the C’s cut the lead to 65-49 at the half.
Burke led everyone with 18 points at the break, while Hayward was the high man for Boston with 13.
Boston showed some energy early in the third quarter, cutting the Knicks’ lead to 10 with under five to play, thanks to Irving and Morris combining to score nine of Boston’s first 13 points of the quarter.
The two teams traded buckets for the rest of what was a rather uneventful stanza, with an Alonzo Trier 3-pointer at the buzzer giving the Knicks an 84-69 lead after three.
The Knicks stretched their lead out to 20 to begin the fourth, but Boston responded with a 13-2 run over 2:23 to cut the lead to 10 with 7:25 to play.
New York then responded to Boston’s run with one of its own. First, Burke canned a jumper to push it to 12. Then, after a Frank Ntililkina layup, Tim Hardaway Jr. drained a triple to push the lead back to 16 with six to play.
The Celtics made one final run, as back-to-back Morris 3-pointers cut the lead to nine with two to play. After a New York turnover, an Irving floater cut the lead to seven and then Hayward drilled a triple to trim the lead to four with 1:05 left in the game.
With the lead at four with under a minute to play, the Celtics stole the ball from Tim Hardaway leading to a fastbreak for Boston. Brown was fouled going for a layup, but the guard hit Emanuel Mudiay with an elbow, leading to a technical foul.
Hardaway missed the technical free throw and Brown made one of his to cut the lead to 112-109. On the ensuing possession, Burke drilled a step-back 3-pointer to hand the Celtics a 115-109 loss.
PLAY OF THE GAME
That’s what we call a high-percentage look.
The Celtics will take the court again Friday when they visit the Atlanta Hawks. Tip-off from State Farm Arena is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.