With Kemba Walker sitting due to the second night of a back-to-back, the Celtics needed an extra offensive push from someone in green. They got it through Marcus Smart, who hit two clutch threes and finished with 17 points to lift Boston over the Knicks 101 – 99 at TD Garden.
After RJ Barrett helped build a five-point Knicks lead nearly halfway through the fourth quarter, Smart scored 10 points in the final five minutes and change to turn the tide. Seemingly inexplicably given the night he was having, the Knicks did not turn to Barrett nearly enough in the clutch and the Celtics took advantage.
The second-year pro had one of the most efficient nights of his career, scoring 29 points on 10-14 shooting while going a perfect 6-6 from three.
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum led the way offensively, as Brown finished with 32 points and Tatum tacked on 25. Smart not only hit the go-ahead three with less than a minute left, but also played his patented physical defense in a game where the officials let a lot go on both sides.
The Celtics improved to 26-26 and jumped the 25-27 Knicks to land in 7th place in the east.