KNICKS 89 CELTICS 86 | TD GARDEN
How it happened:
How the tides have turned. During the first matchup, the Celtics were rolling into Madison Square Garden and even stole a game on the Knicks home floor. On Thursday night, New York paid back Boston and its home crowd by handing the Celtics their fifth consecutive defeat.
In a roller-coaster game, the Knicks found solace in their All-Star forward. Carmelo Anthony dusted off a poor shooting first half to score 15 of his 28 points in the second half to lead New York to an 89-86 victory on the parquet floor.
J.R. Smith buried a gigantic 3-pointer to provide New York with an 89-84 lead following two crucial misses from Kevin Garnett and Avery Bradley. In fact, Boston’s inability to execute down the stretch was a major factor in the defeat.
Rajon Rondo hit a jumper to cut the advantage to just three points with 35 seconds on the game clock. Smith’s defense forced Paul Pierce to mishandle the inbounds pass and the turnover proved deadly to any comeback attempt from the Celtics. On the other side, the Knicks managed to play keep away while running out the clock.
After 13 lead changes in the first half, New York’s 13-7 run to close out the third quarter was monumental. The Knicks seized control by taking a 72-66 lead into the final frame and Anthony connected on a big 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter.
Pierce was held in-check after a 19-point first half. The Celtics' top scorer only posted three second half points and only hit six field goals in the loss.
For the Knicks, Amar’e Stoudemire played a huge role with 15 points in 20 minutes off the bench. Stoudemire’s tip-in bucket pushed the Knicks lead to 86-82 when Boston was working to gain momentum.
Shumpert added 10 points as New York improved to 26-14 on the season.
Knick of the Night:
Anthony scored eight points in the third quarter, hitting 4-of-9 shots from the floor while Pierce only posted one point. Despite a subpar shooting night, Anthony delivered a strong performance, especially in that crucial third period. The All-Star played 41 minutes, hit 11-of-28 from the floor and 5-of-6 at the charity stripe. Anthony added nine boards to his box score total as well.
The Knicks not only outrebounded the Celtics 49-46 but scored 16 second chance points as opposed to Boston’s big doughnut.
News and Notes:
Tyson Chandler was named an Eastern Conference All-Star reserve prior to the contest tonight. For the first time in his 11-year career, Chandler will join the midseason festivities. Anthony and Chandler will team up on the Eastern Conference team on Sunday, February 17.
The Knicks continue the short two-game road trip with a quick jaunt to Philadelphia. On Friday, the squad will practice in the City of Brotherly Love before facing the 76ers on Saturday night.