Knicks 106 Celtics 104 | Madison Square Garden
How it happened:
A Christmas day spectacular unfolded right in front of the Knicks fans at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon. New York and Boston went toe-to-toe for two hours and 47 minutes, resulting in a Knicks 106-104 season opening victory. After the Celtics outscored New York 35-17 in the third quarter and seemed to take control of the game, the Knicks showed incredible resiliency down the stretch. Both teams traded huge shots when New York finally trimmed Boston’s lead to just one point with 2:40 remaining in the contest. Carmelo Anthony put the Knicks back in the driver’s seat with an incredible pump fake and leaning jump shot at the 1:29 mark. Boston answered and had a chance for the lead but Landry Fields stripped Ray Allen, which led to a Marquis Daniels foul on Anthony. The Knicks All-Star drilled both of his free throw attempts and provided a 106-104 lead for New York with 16.3 seconds on the clock. Daniels would miss a corner 3-pointer and the Celtics failed on two attempts to tie the game, shipping Boston home with a loss and setting a winning tone for the Knicks on opening day.
Anthony was simply brilliant in Sunday’s home victory with 37 points in 33 minutes off 10-of-17 shooting from the floor. Rising to the occasion, Anthony connected on 4-of-7 bombs from long distance and sunk 13-of-15 shots at the charity strip. He added eight boards to the impressive performance. As the Celtics hit the floor without their All-Star, Paul Pierce, the Knicks put the ball in Anthony’s hands on every crucial possession. Anthony elevated his clutch status on Sunday and proved he is an elite playmaker in this league.
Unfortunately, rookie Iman Shumpert suffered a right MCL sprain in the second half and did not return. The promising first-year guard is expected to miss 2-4 weeks after scoring 11 points in his NBA debut.
“It is going to be a rivalry now. They are not going to back down and we are not going to back down. Whatever it is, it is going to be nice and it is going to be a great series with them because they are a very good team and well coached. We want to get to their level and we think we can get there.” – head coach Mike D’Antoni
The Knicks will practice tomorrow and Tuesday at Madison Square Garden Training Center. Following the Tuesday practice session, the squad will board a flight for a west coast swing, starting with a game against Golden State on Wednesday night.