How can you top Evan Fournier’s brilliance? RJ Barrett found a way.
Fournier was a hero all night, but Barrett topped it with a banked-in buzzer-beating desperation 3-pointer over Jayson Tatum from 32 feet to give the Knicks a stunning 108-105 victory over the Celtics on Thursday night at the Garden.
Barrett had been quiet up until the point he took the inbounds with 1.5 seconds left and fired in the game-winner, after which he was mobbed by his teammates.
Fournier had carried the Knicks all evening with a heroic performance. In his third straight spectacular game against his former team, the Celtics, Fournier keyed a comeback from 25 points down, scored a career-high 41 points and tied a Knicks record with 10 3-pointers.
It was Fournier’s third 30-point-plus performance against the Celtics. He departed Boston as a free agent in August to sign a $78 million pact with the Knicks, but he hadn’t nearly played up to his contract.
In fact, Fournier was scoreless in his last outing before his 41-spot in which he hit 10 of 14 3-pointers.
While the Knicks fell behind by 25 points in the second quarter, Fournier was the lone Knick to play well.
And when the Knicks forged their ferocious second-half comeback, Fournier hit all the big shots from long range.
Until Barrett’s beauty that came after bad free-throw shooting appeared to send the game to overtime.
Ahead 105-103, the Celtics inbounded with eight seconds left and Tatum hit a 15-footer with 1.5 seconds left to tie the score. And then Barrett went to work.