Final, Knicks win 116-92: Jeff Green did some neat things and Jared Sullinger stalked a double-double, but the Boston Celtics had no real answer to Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony scored 34 points and nabbed nine rebounds as the New York Knicks (26-40) trounced the Celtics (22-43). New York, which led by as many as 24 points, also got 22 points from Tim Hardaway Jr. and a double-double from Cole Aldrich.
Green scored 27 and Sullinger recorded 10 points and eight rebounds for the Celtics, who dropped their second straight game.
Fourth quarter, 2:48, Knicks 105-90: All right, it’s bench-clearing time. Also, bleacher-clearing time.
The Celtics gave it a valiant effort, but now it looks like Earl Clark, Shannon Brown and the like will be closing this out for the Knicks. New York is now just three games out of a playoff spot.
The Eastern Conference, folks.
Fourth quarter, 5:20, Knicks 101-84: Anthony may be a flawed superstar, but his flaws are minor compared to 99 percent of the league.
Anthony has poured in 32 points, plus nine rebounds, as the Knicks have fended off the Celtics’ rush. It doesn’t look like even Green’s late flurry is going to be enough to bring Boston all the way back.
Fourth quarter, 7:56, Knicks 95-76: Cole Aldrich isn’t a prototypical NBA starter. He probably shouldn’t be an NBA start at all. But he started tonight, and he’s got 12 points and eight rebounds, including a probably (definitely) lucky putback to help New York keep the Celtics at bay.
End of third quarter, Knicks 85-75: It’s Jeff Green time at the Garden and the Knicks have reason to worry for the first time in this game.
Green dropped 17 points on New York in the third quarter to pull Boston within 10 points entering the final 12 minutes. We told you the Knicks would cool off eventually, and they have. They were 5-for-17 from the field in the third and 0-for-6 from three. All the Celtics needed was for someone to get hot at the offensive end for them.
Green did, but the job is far from finished. Now it’s up to the Celtics to continue to defend and hope someone else gets hot to pick up where Green left off.
Third quarter, 3:11, Knicks 84-68: Bayless is having a game to forget, so he’s been replaced by a better player: Chris Johnson.
Yup, the one-time 10-day contract signee has outplayed the veteran Bayless but a considerable margin. It’s enough to force Stevens to go to Johnson over Bayless, who is shooting 2-for-9 from the field and is one of the few players actively hurting Boston in this quarter.
Still, the Knicks are comfortably in control, with or without Bayless on the floor.
Third quarter, 8:26, Knicks 72-60: Every team makes a run. The Celtics just hope theirs isn’t over.
The Celtics burst out of halftime on a 12-4 run, but all that only cuts their deficit to a dozen. Green hit a pair of pull-up threes to aid the cause and make him Boston’s leading scorer with 14 points. Humphries also delivered a huge block on a dunk attempt by Hardaway to get his team — and the crowd — into it.
Mike Woodson called a timeout to stop the bleeding, so it’s up to the Celtics to keep this run going.
Halftime, Knicks 68-48: For some reason, the Knicks seem unusually irritated with the officiating. Is a 24-point advantage not sufficient?
The Celtics have the advantage at the free throw line, where they are 12-of-17 to the Knicks’ 7-for-8. That’s about all that’s gone the Celtics’ way, though.
They’ve being beaten on the glass 21-17 and in assists 15-9. They’ve watched New York for 9-for-10 from deep and Anthony already has a nice night’s work with 19 points and five rebounds. Hardaway’s poured in 17 points off the bench. Meanwhile, Humphries has 10 points for the Celtics, but at 4-for-6 from the field he’s the only Boston player to hit more than half his shots.
Second quarter, 3:10, Knicks 59-40: It isn’t getting any better for the Celtics, who are now helping the Knicks out by just giving the ball away.
Tim Hardaway Jr. is a perfect 4-for-4 from the field, including two 3-pointers but also a raucous tomahawk dunk after one of the Celtics’ seven turnovers. The Celtics are getting to the line, where they are 10-for-13, but that’s about all they have going for them at the moment.
Second quarter, 6:24, Knicks 53-35: Remember that stuff about just having to stay within striking distance? Yeah, the Celtics aren’t doing a very good job of that.
The Knicks are 8-for-9 from three and shooting 65 percent overall, with just three turnovers so far. They’ve racked up 11 assists, so the ball is moving, but the Celtics aren’t disrupting the ball movement and the Knicks aren’t missing shots.
Humphries is hot, with 10 points largely out of stagnant offensive sets that he’s saved with tough shots, but that’s not enough to sustain the Celtics over the long haul — or even the short haul.
Second quarter, 8:48, Knicks 44-31: Pressey isn’t Rondo, but he’s doing his best Rondo impression in the opening minutes of the second quarter. Pressey crossed up Pablo Prigioni to get a layup, then dropped a sweet bounce pass to a trailing Kris Humphries for a fast-break dunk.
It hasn’t made a dent in New York’s lead, but it’s helped get somebody other than Sullinger some easy buckets and has given the crowd something to cheer about. Eventually, the Knicks figure to cool off. The Celtics just need to keep them within striking distance until that happens.
End of first quarter, Knicks 36-24: Jared Sullinger hasn’t played completely terribly. So there’s that.
Just a couple of days ago, the Celtics had won two straight and people were whining that they were getting too good. Now they’re working on their second straight game of potentially sub-40-percent field goal shooting. It’s back to reality, y’all.
Sully leads the Celtics with nine points, but he got abused on a switch with Anthony, who has a game-high 13 points. The Celtics are struggling to put the ball in the hole but are having even more trouble at the defensive end, where they’re allowing the Knicks to shoot 64 percent. J.R. Smith, never known for his efficiency, has nine points on a crisp 4-for-6 shooting.
Chris Johnson has five points for the Celtics and briefly was their leading scorer. But when your leading scorer is an undrafted free agent who joined the team on a 10-day contract, that’s not the best look.
First quarter, 6:28, Knicks 20-7: Disparage Carmelo Anthony all you want, but the dude can score.
Anthony has rained in three 3-pointers, all of them fairly effortless, as the Knicks move the ball and look highly efficient on offense. It’s sort of strange, actually.
The Knicks have won four in a row, but they haven’t exactly knocked down Bill Russell’s Celtics. They’ve topped the Wolves, Jazz, Cavs and Sixers, who are all pretty terrible. Still, they all count the same in the standings, as would this game.
6:02 p.m.: With Rajon Rondo sidelined for his normal rest on the second day of a back-to-back, Phil Pressey will get his seventh start of the season as the Boston Celtics’ point guard.
That means the Celtics have only two active ballhandlers and both will be in the starting lineup. Coach Brad Stevens said he will address this by taking either Pressey or Jerryd Bayless out early and rotating them afterward.
“If we have to, (Chris) Johnson or (Chris) Babb can handle that for a couple of minutes, but that would not be ideal,” Stevens said.
The projected starters appear below.
8 a.m. ET: Because the Eastern Conference is the Eastern Conference and the Atlanta Hawks are a cluster-you-know-what, the New York Knicks aren’t dead yet in the race for a playoff spot.
The Knicks (25-40) have won four straight and are just 3 1/2 games behind Atlanta for the eighth and final playoff berth in the East. Help could be on the way in the form of Phil Jackson, but before that happens, the Knicks have an outside shot of shocking just about everyone and earning the right to get creamed in the first round by the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers.
Hey, we have to be realistic, right?
The Boston Celtics (22-42) will look to slow down New York’s momentum Wednesday. Coming off a tough yet encouraging loss to the Indiana Pacers, the Celtics have a chance to play spoiler again to a team with bigger aspirations.
Join us for updates and analysis from TD Garden during the game, which tips off at 7:30 p.m.