KNICKS 100 CELTICS 85 | TD GARDEN
How it happened:
Two bruised and battered Eastern Conference rivals tangled on Tuesday night. Just one team shined in the battle as the Knicks are now riding a five-game winning streak after an impressive 100-85 win over the Celtics in Boston.
The Celtics lost four straight heading into the contest while New York was surging despite the absence of Tyson Chandler and Kurt Thomas in the lineup. Kevin Garnett did not suit up and is expected to miss 4-5 games due to an ankle injury. Of course, Rajon Rondo is out for the year and Amar’e Stoudemire is rehabbing his knee after a debridement procedure.
Regardless of the injury woes, the matchup is always elevated between New York and Boston. The Knicks utilized a critical second quarter run to gain major separation and seize control of the contest.
After Jason Terry hit a 3-pointer at the 9:45 mark of the second period, the Knicks ran all over the Celtics on a 19-4 run over the next five minutes. Boston did not score for more than six minutes while New York relied on J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony for offensive firepower.
Smith attacked the lane on numerous possessions and Anthony bullied his way to the rim without Garnett lurking around the paint. The two prolific scorers combined for 39 of New York’s 58 first half points. Smith led the way with a game-high 32 points and Melo added 29 in the victory.
The Knicks small-ball lineup was simply better than the Celtics. Boston featured Avery Bradley, Jordan Crawford, Paul Pierce, Jeff Green, and Brandon Bass as the starters. New York countered with an effective 5-man group of Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni, Iman Shumpert, Anthony, and Kenyon Martin.
Once again, Martin patrolled the center position and he delivered another solid performance. The big man crushed putback dunks, challenged shots, and brought the toughness New York needed in a hostile environment. Martin finished with nine points, five boards, and a blocked shot in 25 minutes of action.
As expected, Boston attempted a comeback and even trimmed the lead to seven points in the third frame. The Knicks answered quickly on a 7-2 run when Kidd buried a 3-pointer and the road squad never looked back.
New York improved to 43-26 on the season and jumped back to the No. 2 overall spot in the latest Eastern Conference standings. The team owns a 2.5 games lead on Brooklyn in the race for the division title.
Knick of the Night:
Smith was brilliant tonight by forcing his way to the rack at any crack of daylight. The shooting guard scored 32 points on 13-of-24 shooting from the floor. He also attacked the glass with seven rebounds.
New York registered 29 second chance points, scored 50 in the paint, and forced 20 turnovers from the Celtics.
The Knicks hopped right back on a plane to New York. After the win, the Knicks will have little time to rest in a quick turnaround against the Memphis Grizzlies at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.