KNICKS 88 CELTICS 80 GAME 6 | TD GARDEN
How it happened:
The sweet is never as sweet without the sour.
Sure, game 4 and 5 losses hurt, and giving up a 22-point fourth quarter lead was not the optimal situation in Friday night’s Game 6. However, the Knicks exercised some demons by eliminating the resilient Celtics crew in an 88-80 victory.
Entering the fourth period, New York seemed destined to end the series with a sizeable 67-47 advantage. Boston simply refused to go away in the night and mounted a monumental comeback that featured a 19-0 run over five minutes to trim the lead to just seven points.
Avery Bradley snuck behind Carmelo Anthony, snatching a steal at the 4:29 mark of the final stanza. At this point the Celtics crowd was in an absolute frenzy.
Anthony worked past Brandon Bass for an isolation pull-up jumper at a key moment to push the lead to 81-75 with 2:54 on the game clock. About a minute later, Anthony sunk a bomb from downtown after a pick-and-pop set with Raymond Felton. The All-Star then swatted a layup attempt by Paul Pierce, which eventually led to an old fashioned 3-point play from J.R. Smith.
After allowing Boston to comeback from 22 points, New York rallied in the final 3:26 on a 9-5 run to topple its east coast rival.
The Knicks received a spectacular performance in the early stages from an unheralded hero. Pablo Prigioni scored nine of the Knicks first 21 points as the team jumped out to a 16-point lead at the midpoint of the first period.
The 35-year old rookie from Argentina delivered a right hook and silenced the intense Boston crowd by drilling 3-of-5 3-pointers in the first quarter. Meanwhile, New York manhandled the Celtics from a defensive standpoint and held the home team to just 10 points on 25 percent shooting in the first 12 minutes of action.
Pierce got off to a frigid start, only connecting on 1-of-8 shots from the floor in the first period and he finished with a minuscule 14 points in a close out game. Jeff Green was the most effective scorer for Boston with 21 points in the defeat. He did most of his damage from the free throw line, hitting 11-of-14 at the charity stripe.
On the opposite side, Anthony enjoyed a nice 10-point second quarter but he continued to struggle as well. Anthony finished with 21 points and grabbed seven boards and dished out five assists. The Celtics suffocating defensive made it difficult for New York’s leading scorer as he shot 7-of-23 from the floor.
Iman Shumpert was a menace on both sides of the court, scoring 17 points while Smith registered 13 in the win. Shumpert hit three huge 3-pointers in the third quarter to provide the gigantic gap in the third frame.
The Knicks won their first playoff series since the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals. New York captured two playoff victories in Boston for the first time in 30 years. With the series win, the Knicks beat the Celtics for the first time in the post season since 1990.
Knick of the Night:
Prigioni was extremely effective in the first half and he tallied 14 points as part of a 4-of-6 shooting night from downtown. The point guard snatched five boards and dished out three assists. Shumpert deserves a spot in this category, considering he scored 17 points, grabbed six boards, and accounted for two steals.
New York forced 20 turnovers and registered 10 steals in the Game 6 win.
The Knicks will jump on a plane back home where they will have a day off on Saturday before returning to the Garden for Game 1 against the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.