The Celtics don't always play great, and they've shown that there will be nights when their shots aren't falling as much as they'd like, but once again they didn't turn the ball over, won the battle for 50-50 balls, dominated in transition, and overcame an eight-point deficit to win their 13th straight game at homen against a Knicks team that had been struggling. New York played well and Carmelo Anthony shot the ball well for the 25-38 Knicks, but they don't match up athletically with the Celtics and they just couldn't hold on when the Celtics turned up the pressure in the final four minutes of the game.
New York went to work offensively to open the game, and Carmelo Anthony didn't waste any time getting his shot going. Anthony scored 13 of the Knicks 31 first quarter points and showed why he is still considered one of the best players in the NBA. Melo may be struggling to get wins in New York, but if he was in the right situation, he'd flourish. When he plays the Celtics, he shoots the ball well and always gives the Knicks a chance to win the game, just one of the reasons Danny Ainge is enamored with him. Isaiah Thomas had 10 points and three assists in the first quarter, and Jae Crowder also chipped in eight points in the first quarter for Boston as they lost the quarter, 31-27.
The Knicks won the second quarter also and held a 58-53 lead at the half. When the Knicks get open shots, they can be extremely hard to beat, but if they get cold at all, they can't hang with other teams because their low post game and transition game is lacking. New York continued to keep Boston at bay in the third, winning the quarter 29-28 and opening up a 87-81 lead. Considering the Celtics home-court prowess, the Knicks were playing very well and were on their way to a huge win on the road.
The fourth, at least for the initial eight minutes of the period, looked like the rest of the game. The Knicks were maintaining and held an eight-point lead with 4:16 to go, and the Celtics turned on their patented late game pressure. In less than three minutes, the Celtics cut the score from 100-92 to 100-99, and with 1:31 left on the clock, they had plenty of time to overcome the Knicks and steal a win. Jared Sullinger cut the lead back to 102-101, and after a Robin Lopez missed hook, the Celtics were able to take the lead when Evan Turner knocked down a medium range jumper. With 36 seconds to go and down by one, the Knicks went to the one person they knew could give them the lead back- Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony knocked down a step-back jumped in Jae Crowder's face and once again the Knicks were up, 104-103. 'Melo has proven that he is never afraid to take the last shot, and he showed it again on Friday night in Boston. It was a great shot and the Knicks bench was fired up, but there was still 17 seconds remaining and the Celtics knew they could get a basket. On the inbounds play, Avery Bradley caught the pass and drove hard to the right side of the basket, using his body to shield anyone from blocking his shot. He converted a very difficult layup; instead of dribbling the clock down and trying for a last second shot, Brad Stevens told Bradley to be aggressive, get the points and win the game playing defense on the final possession, basically putting the pressure on the Knicks. New York looked for a shot but the Celtics wasted their final foul, and there was three seconds left on the clock to score. On the inbounds, the Celtics went into a zone defense, confusing the Knicks and forcing Anthony to catch the ball three feet above the three-point line, and he jacked one up that wasn't even close.
Once again, the Celtics got the job done and took care of business against a division foe and longtime rival. Next up for the Celtics- at Cleveland to take on the Eastern Conference Champion Cavaliers. The Knicks will host the Pistons at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.
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