In the last 2:34 of Wednesday night’s game, Kristaps Porzingis scored nine of his thirty points to help the visiting Boston Celtics overcome a late six-point deficit and defeat the New York Knicks 108-104 in the clubs’ season opener. In the final seconds, Porzingis made all six of his free throws and a 3-pointer with 1:29 remaining to give Boston a 104-101 lead. The Celtics hit 14 of 15 free throws in the fourth quarter, led by his flawless effort from the foul line. They were 22 for 26 from the line when the game was over.
In his debut game as a member of the Celtics, Porzingis scored the most points ever (30). On June 23, the 7-foot-3 center was acquired from the Washington Wizards. He played his first three seasons of professional basketball with the Knicks. The Celtics, leading by as much as 12 points in the third quarter and by nine points at the beginning of the fourth before the Knicks came back, were led by Jayson Tatum (34 points, 11 rebounds) who recorded a double-double.
The Knicks were led by RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley, who combined for 24 points. They made 18 of 41 free throws from 3-point range but just 14 of 26 free throws overall, including 5 of 9 in the fourth quarter. While Jalen Brunson scored 15 points but only shot 6 for 21 from the floor, Julius Randle had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Adding 11 points was Quentin Grimes.
The Knicks went on a 13-2 run after Barrett scored the opening seven points of the fourth quarter. Josh Hart’s 3-pointer with 8:56 remaining gave them their first lead, 86-84. Twice New York led by six points, the latest on a floater by Brunson with 3:39 remaining, before Jrue Holiday’s layup started the Celtics’ game-winning run. During the following six Knicks field goal attempts, which they missed, Porzingis scored nine consecutive points without a response. With eighteen seconds remaining, Isaiah Hartenstein made a putback to get the Celtics within 106-104, but in the final seconds, Payton Pritchard made two free throws and Brunson missed two three-pointers. Tatum scored 19 points to lead Boston to a 51-46 lead at the half. With 14, Barrett led New York.