Knicks buried under Celtics’ record-setting 3-point barrage

A male fan banked in a half-court heave to win a new car during the third quarter Saturday night, providing a euphoric moment for the home crowd and even earning a chest bump from RJ Barrett and a bear hug from Julius Randle.

The Celtics’ deadly proficiency from long range all night certainly had the opposite effect on the helpless Knicks and the stunned Garden faithful. Boston’s sharpshooters connected for a franchise-record 27 3-pointers — also setting the mark for treys allowed by the Knicks — to crush Tom Thibodeau’s team, 133-118.

“They’re a dynamic team off the dribble, and some of it was poor defense and some of it was they made shots,” Thibodeau said. “I want to take a look at the film, but there were some that I felt we could have challenged better.

“Obviously our defense wasn’t at its best, and against a team like that, it has to be.”

Jaylen Brown had 30 points and Jayson Tatum contributed 26 — with six 3-pointers apiece — for the Celtics, who fired their way to a whopping 52.9 percent efficiency (27-for-51) from beyond the arc.

Jalen Brunson, who scored 22 points, drives on Jalen Brown during the Knicks’ loss.
Corey Sipkin

The barrage also broke the previous Knicks record for 3-pointers allowed of 26, the Bucks’ total in a game at the Garden in November 2021. The Knicks had given up 23 last Sunday in a loss to Donovan Mitchell and the Cavaliers in Cleveland.

“That’s a lot of 3s,” Barrett said of the Celtics’ onslaught. “Sometimes a team gets hot. Tough to beat 27 3s, but we still fought all the way through. Nothing we can do about that one.

“Teams are gonna get hot. You play 82 games, it’s bound to happen at some point. Just gotta go back to taking the 3 out and we’ll be alright.”

Randle (29 points) and Barrett (27) managed season-high scoring totals, and Jalen Brunson finished with 22 points and 10 assists with no turnovers for the Knicks (4-5).

Jayson Tatum — who scored 26 points, including six 3-pointers — shoots a jumper during the Knicks' 133-118 loss to the Celtics.
Jayson Tatum — who scored 26 points, including six 3-pointers — shoots a jumper during the Knicks’ 133-118 loss to the Celtics.
AP

Isaiah Hartenstein made his first start of the season in place of banged-up center Mitchell Robinson (knee) and scored 10 points with a team-best 14 rebounds over 37 minutes.

The Celtics, who improved to 6-3 this season under interim coach Joe Mazzulla, drained five of their first six attempts from long distance — including two by Tatum — in the first 3:34 for a quick 15-5 lead. But Reddish sparked the Knicks at the defensive end with a key steal, and they rattled off 10 points in a row — featuring two 3-pointers by Randle — to even the score.

With big men Al Horford (rest) and Robert Williams (knee) out for the Celtics, Thibodeau again turned to the smaller lineup, with a combo of Randle and Obi Toppin, for part of the second quarter. But Boston kept firing from long range and netted the first nine points of the session to open a 53-39 lead on Sam Hauser’s corner trey with 7:40 left until halftime. It was his fourth of five long-range connections in the game.

RJ Barrett, who scored 27 points, chases a loose ball during the Knicks' loss.
RJ Barrett, who scored 27 points, chases a loose ball during the Knicks’ loss.
Corey Sipkin

The Knicks’ makeshift starting unit got them back in the game by intermission. Barrett buried two 3s and scored 13, while Randle added seven in a 27-14 surge to close out the half with the Celtics holding just a 67-66 advantage.

Boston added to its halftime total of 13 made 3s with eight more in the third quarter, extending the lead to 101-96 entering the final period.

Additional long-range bombs by Marcus Smart (13 points, 11 assists) and former Knick Noah Vonleh boosted the Boston lead to nine midway through the fourth.

A traditional three-point conversion by Randle cut the Knicks’ deficit back to four, but Tatum set the Celtics’ franchise record with their 25th and 26th 3-pointers of the night for a 124-114 lead with 3:34 remaining.

“I think it’s a lack of communication on our part,” Brunson said. “They got a lot of misdirection, miscommunication 3s. It’s also a credit to them. They’re a very good team, very good players, very good philosophy. It’s a mixture of those things, but you’ve got to give them credit. … Tonight, just wasn’t our night.”

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