New York’s Josh Hart made one of the most remarkable — and disrespectful — plays of the season in the Knicks’ 114-98 loss to the Celtics.
The 28-year-old guard was trying to spark a comeback during the fourth quarter of the clash in Boston when he received the ball on the wing.
As Jrue Holiday closed in, Hart leapt into the air but didn’t shoot and realized he might have been called for a trip if he had continued.
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So he instead bounced the ball off Holiday’s back – as you’ll sometimes see on an inbounds play – then scooped the ball up before shooting and draining the three.
However, overall, the Knicks stayed until circumstances dragged them down.
Against all odds against the cream of the Eastern Conference, New York was overtaken down the stretch by the Celtics, ending its three-game winning streak as Jayson Tatum (35 points, 17 in the fourth quarter) is a true MVP candidate.
The game’s pivotal sequence came with about eight minutes remaining, when the Knicks cut their deficit to three.
Then Josh Hart jumped into a Tatum jump shot on the next possession, giving the Celtics a four-point game.
Tom Thibodeau’s troop (5-5) never recovered.
Until further notice, the Knicks are a notch below championship contenders.
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To be fair, they were playing without RJ Barrett, arguably the team’s best player to start the campaign – and certainly the most consistent.
He suffered from migraines and never made it to the Knicks bench.
Monday was also the second game of a back-to-back, with the Knicks traveling to Beantown after blowing out the Hornets on Sunday at MSG.
So there were the trappings of a schedule loss and — despite Julius Randle declaring “we owe them one” a night earlier — the Knicks obliged by allowing Boston’s high-octane offense to ignite in the fourth quarter.
The Knicks were dominated in the last eight minutes, 23-10, losing to the Celtics (8-2) for the second time this season.
The good news is that the five-game road trip, which started here, is getting a lot easier. The next opponents – the Hawks, Wizards, Hornets and Timberwolves – are behind.
There is also no more back-to-back on the journey.
Hart started in place of Barrett and Thibodeau resisted adding a new player to the rotation, meaning only eight appeared (until trash time) and the starters logged heavy minutes.
Hart had 16 points in 43 minutes. Randle finished with 25 points on 7 of 19 shooting in 38 minutes.
Jalen Brunson led the Knicks with 26 points, but only six in the fourth quarter.
Kristaps Porzingis (21 points) and Jaylen Brown (22) were also significant contributors for the Celtics.
BUCKS BLOWS AS CROWDER FACES INJURY RELEASE
Milwaukee Bucks forward Jae Crowder faces a two-month injury layoff after suffering a groin injury, the team confirmed.
Crowder, 33, was injured during Milwaukee’s 112-97 loss to the Orlando Magic on Sunday (AEDT), limping in the third quarter.
The Bucks said Monday that after testing and evaluation, Crowder was diagnosed with a left adductor and abdominal tear.
“He will have surgery tomorrow (Tuesday) and will be out for approximately eight weeks,” the Bucks said.
The injury is a blow to Milwaukee, which has had an uneven start to its NBA season, although it recorded a 118-109 victory over Chicago on Tuesday to improve to 6-4.
NBA SCORES for November 14
Raptors 111 – Wizards 107
Bucks 118 – Bulls 109
Celtics 114 – Knicks 98
Kings – Knights in progress