City Sports Report

Knicks Surpassed by Celtics, Pierce, 96-86 by Derrel “Jazz” Johnson

The New York Knicks were held to 35 second-quarter points and the Boston Celtics came back from a 15-point deficit to win, 96-86 at Madison Square Garden last night.  The New York Knicks led 45-30 on a three-pointer by Chauncey Billups with 3:40 left in the second quarter, and took a 51-37 lead into the second half.  The Knicks held the Celtics to 15 second-quarter points.

Carmelo Anthony, Landry Fields,Chauncey Billups, Toney Douglas and Amar'e Stoudemire

Carmelo Anthony, Landry Fields,Chauncey Billups, Toney Douglas and Amar'e Stoudemire

The Celtics slowly and methodically chipped away at the Knicks lead in the third quarter, eventually cutting the lead to six, 69-63 on a lay up by Glen Davis to end the quarter.  The Celtics held the Knicks to 18 points in the quarter.

The Celtics cut the Knicks lead to 2, 71-69, on a dunk by Jeff Green, but the Knicks responded with a 11-4 run, highlighted by 7 points by Billups, to take an 82-73 lead.  A 13-0 run by the Celtics followed that gave them the lead, 86-82, as Paul Pierce responded with 7 points during the run.  After the Knicks tied the game at 86, the Celtics closed the game on a 10-0 run, 4 of which were scored by Ray Allen.   

Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 22 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, while Billups added 21 points(11 in the fourth quarter), 3 rebounds and 3 assists.  Amar’e Stoudemire finished with a double-double, 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Ronny Turiaf scored 11 points and blocked 4 shots.

The Celtics were led by all-stars Kevin Garnett, with 24 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 steals, and Paul Pierce, with 21 points(13 in the fourth quarter) and 6 rebounds.  Ray Allen scored 15 points and grabbed 8 rebounds, and Rajon Rondo scored 13 points and dished out 12 assists.

The game was a defensive, physical battle that featured playoff intensity and bloodshed on both ends.  Celtics reserve Troy Murphy left the game with a bloody nose, and Allen received a cut on his head that required him to leave the game and receive seven stitches, before returning.  Anthony laid on the court for a few minutes after running into Rondo and receiving a cut.  Perhaps the most intense moment was all-star power forwards Garnett and Stoudemire diving for a loose ball at mid court that resulted in a jump ball.

When asked what changed after the first half, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers responded “we just played basketball.  We didn’t make one adjustment, not one.  We played the way we were capable of playing.  We were more physical and we made some shots.  We just played our defense.  It was a good win for us and to pull it out against those guys is always nice.”

Paul Pierce talked about his team’s intangibles.  “There’s just something about this team.  We have an extra gear and we know when to turn it up.  We are a veteran team and we know how to push the button to get where we need to be. 

Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni was very complimentary of the Celtics.  “You have to give them credit.  They get into you and they make it tough to find a good shot, that’s why they’re competing for a World Championship.”

The Knicks are 7-9 since the Carmelo Anthony trade.  The Knicks host the Orlando Magic tomorrow at Madison Square Garden at 8pm.

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