The Knicks wanted more offense in the offseason and got it. But it came at a cost to their defense and Wednesday’s season-opener thrill ride showed they will still need to shore up that part of their game.
After blowing an 11-point lead in the final 3:44 of regulation, the Knicks still managed to survive a roller-coaster ride in double overtime, 138-134 over the Celtics as Julius Randle poured in 35 points and newcomer Evan Fournier added 32 in a sparkling debut at a charged-up Garden.
Randle has a partner. Fournier hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 56 seconds left in the second overtime.
It was survival, but in the end Kemba Walker’s debut was a winning one against his old team as the Knicks held off Jaylen Brown’s 46 points — 20 in the first quarter.
Fournier, whom the Knick acquired in a sign-and-trade with Boston, and Randle came up huge in the second overtime to repel the Celtics. Fournier was 13 of 25 from the field and 6 of 13 from 3.
Walker was the goat on a key play that nearly cost them dearly. Randle’s two free throws juiced the lead to three points with 4.8 seconds left in the fourth.
The Celtics’ Dennis Schroder inbounded to Jayson Tatum, who slipped, regained his balance to send a long feed to Marcus Smart. Walker was slow to dart toward him and a wide-open Smart drilled the 3-pointer to send the game into overtime. And, eventually, two overtimes.
Walker, the Bronx native who received a rousing ovation in pregame intros, was serviceable offensively with 10 points, three assists and eight rebounds in 35 minutes but got sloppy with two turnovers in the final minute of regulation.
Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau pulled Walker in the second overtime for Derrick Rose, who had an off night.
But the Knicks — as they did all last season — found a way to win with a new boost from Fournier.