This time they had been on the highway, in as hostile an atmosphere because the NBA permits. This time, they had been those lacking a star. This time, it was the opposite staff, the Celtics, who had one thing to show, since they had been lots salty after getting humiliated by the Nets two nights earlier. 

And it didn’t matter. 

None of it mattered. 

The Knicks outlasted the Celtics in double-overtime Sunday night time at TD Backyard. The ultimate rating was 131-129. The ultimate seconds had been a sweaty, blurry, pulsating rush, and the aftermath was as candy a sight as there may be in New York sports activities: the moment evacuation of the Backyard, the exodus of 19,156 little children of New England, all of them red-faced and livid and asking the age-old query as soon as requested by Butch and Sundance again within the day. 

“Who’re these guys?” 

They’re the piping-hot Knicks, who’ve now received 9 video games in a row, who swept a weekend highway journey by means of Miami and Boston by profitable a pair of white-knuckle, holy-cow-did-you-see-THAT video games towards the Warmth and the Celtics. The truth that they did this Sunday with out Jalen Brunson, their do-everything level guard? 

Yeah. That most likely explains Mr. & Mrs. Sully’s particularly purple faces and particularly livid inclinations as they sprinted out of the sector for the T. 

Immanuel Rapidly celebrates in the course of the Knicks’ win over the Celtics on Sunday.
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“We acquired some canine on this staff,” a jubilant Immanuel Quickley mentioned. 

It was Quickley who made a lot of this potential, Quickley who changed Brunson (nursing a sore foot) within the beginning lineup, Quickley who performed 55 minutes and scored a career-high 38 factors and added seven assists, eight rebounds and 4 steals, Quickley who despatched the sport right into a second extra time with a floater with 13 seconds left in OT and Quickley who scored the Knicks’ first 5 factors in the second, a fast lead they by no means relinquished. 

“It was an enormous efficiency by him,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau mentioned. “He stepped up, made huge performs, huge pictures, made a variety of nice protection.” 

It was, however in fact it was an enormous efficiency by everybody. Julius Randle adopted up his monster 43-point outburst towards the Warmth on Friday with 31 extra Sunday. RJ Barrett had 29 factors and 11 rebounds. Mitch Robinson had 13 factors and 14 rebounds. 

And on the final play of the sport, after constantly getting burned by Boston middle Al Horford who had made six 3s as a result of Robinson was always serving to out within the center, he managed to dash out towards Horford within the nook as quickly as Jayson Tatum (game-high 40) whipped the ball to him. 

RJ Barrett (l.) and Immanuel Quickley have a good time in the course of the Knicks’ win in Boston on Sunday night time.
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Robinson was simply sufficient of a distraction. 

Horford’s shot was quick. 

Josh Hart skied to snare the rebound, the buzzer groaned, and TD Backyard grew immediately silent save for the gleeful celebration of the 5 Knicks on the ground — Randle elevating his arms, Barrett pumping his fist, Quickley sprinting to the opposite facet of the court docket — and the remainder of the touring social gathering on the bench. 

Tom Thibodeau reacts during the Knicks' win over the Celtics on March 5.
Tom Thibodeau reacts in the course of the Knicks’ win over the Celtics on March 5.
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All of them having the time of their lives. 

“I need our staff to have enjoyable, and have pleasure, however I don’t need it to get misplaced and twisted,” mentioned Thibodeau, at all times prepared to mood an excessive amount of rambunctiousness. “Successful is far more enjoyable than enjoyable is enjoyable.” 

Sunday, the Knicks had each. They noticed the Celtics a 14-point third-quarter lead then got here roaring again to grab an 11-point lead within the fourth. They blew the sport on the finish of regulation, then redeemed themselves by taking it again on the finish of extra time, and doubled down by lastly closing the sport out. 

Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson grabs a rebound on Sunday.

“I’m joyful that we discovered a strategy to win,” Thibodeau mentioned. “The Celtics have had an ideal season, they’re an ideal staff, we knew we’d must be at our greatest for all the recreation. Each time they acquired down they fought again and located a approach in the long run.” 

It was their thirty ninth win of the season; once they hit 40, possibly as quickly as Tuesday again on the Backyard towards Charlotte, will probably be solely the fourth time since 2001 that they’ve executed that. They’ve received 12 of 14, a stretch that features two wins over the Celtics, Nets and Warmth, and wins over the 76ers, Jazz, Hawks and Pelicans. 

“You possibly can’t ask for extra,” Quickley mentioned, though he is aware of higher. The Knicks are now not a cute story. They’re a legit staff, and possibly you may wish to ask the legion of Celtics followers flooding Legends Means on their approach dwelling after seeing their C’s lose the season sequence 3-1 to New York: 

“Do YOU wish to see the Knicks within the playoffs?”