NBA: Knicks hold off Celtics in overtime, Pistons top Nets

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle reacts after defeating the Boston Celtics. PHOTO: USA TODAY SPORTS

NEW YORK – You win some, you lose some. That has been the way the New York Knicks are learning to become stronger as a unit this National Basketball Association (NBA) season.

On Thursday night, Julius Randle scored 37 points as the Knicks handed the NBA-leading Celtics a third straight defeat with a 120-117 overtime victory in Boston to improve to 27-23.

The forward added nine rebounds and Jalen Brunson scored 29 points with four rebounds, seven assists and a crucial block before time expired as the Knicks thwarted Boston’s comeback bid.

New York squandered a late 12-point lead but managed to hang on for their first win in Boston since January 2021.

“Just poise,” Randle said. “We’ve been in these games before, we’ve been in those type of situations all year. So I feel like we’re getting more and more comfortable in those situations.

“All year we’ve been in up and down games. We’ve lost those games at the end, we’ve won them at the end, so there’s a sense of being comfortable in those positions and knowing how to execute whether you’re up or down.”

Boston’s Jayson Tatum celebrated his selection as an All-Star starter with 35 points and 14 rebounds. Jaylen Brown scored 22 points with nine rebounds.

But the star Celtics duo also combined for six key turnovers, and Brown missed two free throws with 7.6 seconds remaining to hurt Boston’s cause.

“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.”

With the loss, the Celtics dropped to 35-15, but are still ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers (31-16) in the Eastern Conference.

The Detroit Pistons, owners of the worst record in the East on 13-37, sprung a surprise in Brooklyn, where Kyrie Irving’s 40 points were not enough for the Nets in a 130-122 defeat. The Nets fell to 29-19 and are fourth in the East.

Saddiq Bey scored 25 points to lead eight Pistons players in double figures – despite the absence of star guard Cade Cunningham, back-up point guard Cory Joseph and centre Marvin Bagley.

Alec Burks scored 20 points for the Pistons, who ended a four-game losing streak as they rebounded from an embarrassing loss to Milwaukee on Monday in which they gave up 150 points.

The Pistons capitalised on their size advantage against the short-handed Nets, who were again without star Kevin Durant and saw Ben Simmons depart early with a sore left knee.

“We had a big third quarter,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said of his team’s 43-point period.

“The third quarter was, at one time, our nemesis coming out of the locker room. I think we’re graduating, we’re growing into being a competitive team out of the locker room.”

Elsewhere, Mavericks star Luka Doncic, who entered the game averaging a league-high 33.8 points to go along with 9.1 rebounds and 8.6 assists, exited Dallas’ 99-95 win against hosts Phoenix Suns in the first quarter due to a sprained left ankle and was ruled out for the rest of the contest.

He limped to the locker room after picking up the injury but an X-ray was negative. He was scoreless in three minutes of action, missing both of his shots from the floor.

Asked about Doncic’s status going forward, Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said postgame: “We’ll see as we go forward here. We’ll have probably more information once we get to Utah (for Saturday’s game).” AFP, REUTERS

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