NBA regular season

Knicks continue playoff push, win sixth straight after downing top-ranked Celtics

Knicks continue playoff push, win sixth straight after downing top-ranked Celtics

STREAKING. New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) controls the ball against Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The New York Knicks continue to stamp their class as a legitimate NBA playoff contender after taking down the league-leading Boston Celtics

Julius Randle and Immanuel Quickley scored 23 points apiece Monday night (Tuesday, February 28, Manila time) for the host New York Knicks, who led almost wire-to-wire in a 109-94 win over the NBA-leading Boston Celtics.

Mitchell Robinson (10 points, 13 rebounds) had a double-double for the Knicks, who have won six straight and eight of nine to move into fifth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game ahead of the idle Brooklyn Nets.

New York’s Jalen Brunson finished with 17 points while reserve Josh Hart added 12 points and RJ Barrett had 10 points.

Malcolm Brogdon scored a team-high 22 points for the Celtics, who lost for the third time in 12 games and fell into a virtual tie for first in the East with the idle Milwaukee Bucks.

Marcus Smart had 19 points while Jayson Tatum, who entered averaging 30.4 points per game, was limited to 14 points before he was ejected late in the fourth quarter.

Tatum shot 6-for-18, including 1-for-9 from 3-point range, and added nine assists for the Celtics, who shot a season-low 21.4 percent (9-for-42) from beyond the arc.

Boston’s Al Horford and Derrick White added 13 points apiece.

Horford opened the game with a 3-pointer to give the Celtics their only lead. Boston was within one point three times before Randle and Brunson scored five points apiece in a quarter-ending, 12-2 run that extended the Knicks’ lead to 27-15.

New York scored eight straight points to take the first of its two 20-point leads at 47-27 with 6:35 left in the half.

The Celtics scored 12 unanswered points to get within 49-41 with 3:05 remaining in the second quarter, but New York answered with eight straight points before carrying a 60-46 edge into halftime.

The Knicks led by at least nine throughout the second half and iced the win when Hart hit a 3-pointer with 3:52 left in the fourth and Quickley converted the free throw following Tatum’s second technical foul six seconds later to extend their lead to 106-91. –

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