Julius Randle
AP Photo/Sarah Stier

Turnovers, missed free throws, and a brutal fourth quarter doom the New York Knicks yet again, as the Boston Celtics steal a win in MSG.

The New York Knicks can’t buy a win and that’s a direct result of a few different things. The Boston Celtics took advantage of the inferior Knicks for the third time this season, sweeping both games at Madison Square Garden.

For one, the Knicks rarely put together 48 minutes of competent basketball. New York led by as many as nine in the second half, but the last six minutes of the game saw a complete shift in momentum. This is nothing new.

The other major issue the Knickerbockers face is free-throw shooting. They’re horrendous from the line. Awful, atrocious, historically bad. This isn’t an overreaction at all.

On Sunday, the Knicks lost by nine points and missed 11 free throws. Knicks head coach David Fizdale has been far from perfect this season. But the fact of the matter is that the players are the ones taking those shots at the line.

New York should have at least three more wins this season, but they can’t hit their free throws. Keep pumping in that crowd noise at practice, I guess. Shooting 67.5% from the line is downright unacceptable for a high school team, let alone an NBA roster.

Turnovers were another issue for the Knicks late against the Celtics. Boston, the more experienced team, feasted on turnovers down the stretch. This one felt like the same story on a different day. So goes it for the Knicks.

Julius Randle led the Knicks with 26 points and Dennis Smith Jr. played a season-high 38 minutes in the loss. Smith poured in 17 points and seven assists. No doubt, this game was a step forward for the embattled guard.

Smith was thrust into a bigger role than normal after Frank Ntilikina left the game with a sore back. The French point guard played just under seven minutes.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 58 points to lead the Celtics. Brown was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field for 11 fourth-quarter points.

There are no breaks in the NBA schedule and that rings true for the Knicks, who will hop on a plane and travel to Milwaukee for a matchup with the Bucks on Monday (8 p.m. ET).

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.