PROVIDENCE – The Dunkin’ Donuts Center crowd turned deafening as the Celtics roared back from a 23-point fourth-quarter deficit Wednesday to take a lead in the final seconds.
But the Celtics couldn’t complete the dramatic comeback and fell, 103-102, to the New York Knicks in the preseason matchup. It’s Boston’s second preseason loss in as many games.
“That was fun to be a part of,” said rookie Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “That’s the way we need to play.” Stevens conceded that it was nice to see his team come back from that deficit in the final quarter, but he added that it would “be nicer if you win.”
Celtics training camp invitee Chris Babb, a guard from Iowa State, hit 4-of-5 from 3-point range in the last frame to trim the Knicks’ lead, bringing his teammates on the bench to their feet.
“My first shot fell and it just kept falling,” said Babb, who scored 12 points in 8 minutes.
The Celtics had a chance to win on their final possession, but Babb’s last-second shot in the lane was blocked.
Undrafted free agent guard Phil Pressey, making his NBA debut, had 13 points and 7 assists to lead six Celtics who scored in double figures. Vitor Faverani had 11 points and 6 rebounds.
Iman Shumpert scored 18 off the bench to lead five Knicks who scored in double figures. Carmelo Anthony scored 7 in about 22 minutes.
The Celtics were much better on the glass, out-rebounding the Knicks 36-34, after being out-rebounded by 20 in their preseason opener Monday against Toronto.
The Celtics also had 28 assists on 40 made field goals, and forward Jeff Green bounced back from his 6-point performance against the Raptors by scoring 10 in 21 minutes.
Boston is scheduled to practice Thursday and then head to Newark, Del., for Friday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Bob Carpenter Center.
The game against the 76ers will be the first of a back-to-back for the Celtics, who will again face the Knicks on Saturday in Manchester, N.H. at the Verizon Wireless Arena.