BOSTON — After missing two free throws with 7.6 seconds left in overtime that would have given the Boston Celtics the lead, the star guard jaylen brown took the blame for Boston’s 120-117 overtime loss to the New York Knicks at the TD Garden on Thursday night.

“I just have to be better, to be honest,” Brown said after finishing with 22 points on 8-for-22 shooting and nine rebounds in 42 minutes. “Tonight was a tough game and I’m a better basketball player than today.

“Those two missed free throws embodied the whole game. I didn’t get it, I didn’t give my teammates enough energy to get the win, and that’s what happens when you don’t go out there and do your best. I’ll be better off.” .

Boston (35-15), which has lost three in a row after picking up nine straight wins before that, needed a furious fourth-quarter comeback to have a chance to win the game in extra session. The Celtics trailed 102-89 with exactly eight minutes remaining after a pair of free throws from the Knicks guard. miles mcbridebut closed the game on a 21-8 run to tie things up.

The Celtics even had a chance to win the game in regulation. But a clean look at a sweater jayson tatum — who had 35 points, 14 rebounds and four assists on the day he was voted an All-Star starter for the first time in his career — was left with it and sent the game into overtime.

“I felt like if I had called a screen, they were going to double,” Tatum said. “So I waved everyone down and made a move back to my spot, and he went in and out. But he felt good and I thought it was good.”

Boston then stretched that streak to 26-8 after Boston opened overtime with five straight points, and it looked like the Celtics were about to shut out New York (27-23). Instead, the Knicks fought back, scoring six straight points to retake the lead in a rj barrett Three-pointer with 29 seconds remaining, one of only two baskets the Knicks made in overtime.

After Brown made a baseline layup to put Boston ahead by one, Julius Randlewho scored a game-high 37 points along with nine rebounds, was fouled on a drive by Robert Williams and hit a pair of free throws to put New York up by one.

Brown then went to the foul line after jalen brunson he cut his legs trying to contest a potential jumper with 7.6 seconds remaining. Rather than put Boston back in front, Brown missed both and forced the Celtics to foul the Knicks on the next possession.

Barrett made a pair of free throws, and both Tatum and malcolm brogdon he missed potential three-pointers to tie the game.

“I think for your own sanity, just let it go,” Brown said, when asked how he would process missed free throws. “Go out there, keep playing basketball and go out there and be a better version of yourself.

“I love this game, and I love its ups and downs. It comes with it, so you don’t freak out. You take it, you use it, and you’re better in the next one.”

The Celtics still have the best record in the NBA, though they now sit just one game ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers in the loss column.

And while Boston still ranks third overall in offensive rating and fifth in defensive rating, the Celtics rank 22nd in the league in offensive rating since early December, a 24-game streak during which Boston has had a record 14. -10, the seventh best record. in the Eastern Conference during that span.

During that span, the Celtics have dealt with a series of injuries, including in smart marcus, who missed his third straight game with a sprained ankle, while Tatum and Brown are dealing with nagging injuries. And there was little chance they would continue at the same pace as their bright start over the course of a full 82-game season.

But after another disappointing loss, Brown said it’s up to him to lead Boston in the right direction.

“It’s the mentality,” Brown said. “Have a tough mind. I think [Celtics interim coach Joe Mazzulla] he talks about it all the time, he has mental strength.

“After losing two games tonight it would be a great game to show that, and we fumbled the ball, and I dropped it, as the leader. I didn’t give the energy to help my team win and those two free throws just embodied everything. my performance tonight.”

By sbavh

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