The Boston Celtics collapsed again. Plus a superstar’s feud with a bitter with a rival has been resparked after a “fat boy” sledge.
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CELTICS COLLAPSE AGAIN IN WILD FINISH
Sat, 15 Jan
Saturday January 15th
Evan Fournier exploded for a career-high 41 points, while RJ Barrett banked in a match-winning three-pointer as the Boston Celtics collapsed yet again in a 108-105 loss to the New York Knicks on Friday (all times AEDT).
It included a career-best 10 three-pointers from Fournier that tied a Knicks franchise record with JR Smith.
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.
It was Fournier’s third 30-point-plus performance against the Celtics, who he now has a knack of playing well against.
The Frenchman 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.
However, the big takeaway was the Celtics blowing another big lead, surrendering a 25-point advantage earlier in the contest to allow the Knicks to rally back hard.
And social media blew up in response to Boston’s latest collapse.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, the Celtics join the Pelicans as the only teams to lose four games that they led by as much as 15 points. Furthermore, Bostin has now lost six of their seven games that went to clutch time (score within five points in the final five minutes of a game.
It came despite a huge performance from Jayson Tatum, tallying 36 points on 12-of-21 shooting with six triples, six rebounds, nine assists, two steals and one block.
Celtics coach Ime Udoka didn’t hold back in his assessment of his team post-match, saying “it’s some kind of lack of mental toughness there”.
“Repetitive result that’s happening. Either we’re going to make some adjustments and get tired of it or it’s going to keep happening.” he said.
“Message was short and sweet . It wasn’t about the last play again, it was everything leading up to it.
“We need leadership, somebody that can calm us down and not get rattled when everything starts to go a little south and I think snowballs between our guys. “
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.
This article was first published by The New York Postand reproduced with permission.
MORRIS REIGNITES JOKER FEUD WITH ‘FAT BOY’ SLEDGE
It’s fair to say Markieff Morris hasn’t gotten over his beef with Nikola Jokic after reigniting his bitter feud with the Denver Nuggets superstar with a social media sledge.
The Miami Heat forward has missed 30-straight games after he was taken down by Jokic in their teams’ clash in November that saw both players get ejected before being fined and suspended by the NBA.
It came after Morris bumped Jokic while he was throwing a pass from half-court, with the reigning MVP retaliating with a hard shoulder to Morris while his back was turned.
Responding to a social media post from Legion Hoops that highlighted it was “wild” Morris had missed so much time, Morris said: “Ain’t s*** wild about it! It’s a real injury! Imagine having a 300 pound sloppy fat boy run full speed and make direct contact with your spine! I’ll be back soon like I said.”
There was significant fallout from the altercation including a war of words between Jokic’s brothers and both Markieff and Marcus Morris on social media.
So it’s only natural to wonder if the Jokic brothers have seen Morris’ latest swipe to the Serbian big man.
The Heat, like most teams in the NBA, have been hit hard by injuries and players in health and safety protocols. Therefore the return of Morris will be welcomed as the team looks to contend with the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
CELTICS 105 KNICKS 108
PISTONS 88 GRIZZLIES 118
WARRIORS 96 PELICANS 101