The Boston Celtics needed contributions from everyone Sunday, and they got just that — 10 of 11 players scored, four of whom did so in double figures — as the C’s held off the hungry New York Knicks at home for a 100-91 win.
The win was Boston’s fourth in a row, while the Knicks fell for the fourth straight time. New York failed to score 100 points in any of those contests.
Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 29 points, but Isaiah Thomas (21 points), Evan Turner (19), and Jae Crowder (18) all played terrific in a cohesive effort that bumped Boston up into the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference playoff standings.
With an 18-13 record, the Celtics are five games above .500 for the first time since Brad Stevens took over as head coach in 2013.
Here’s how it happened:
Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Jared Sullinger, Amir Johnson
The Celtics and Knicks couldn’t get anything to fall in the early goings. New York shot just 26.9 percent, hitting only seven shots in the opening 12 minutes. Boston wasn’t much better, though, getting just eight shots to fall and shooting 32.5 percent from the field.
Boston led 22-18 after the first quarter.
The Knicks came within two points in the second quarter at 29-27, but Boston proceeded to pull away with an 18-6 run toward the end of the frame to take a 14-point lead.
Anthony single-handedly kept the Knicks alive, though, scoring seven points in the closing minutes of the half. Boston led by just 10 at the break, 51-41.
The Celtics’ bench was terrific Sunday, outscoring New York’s bench 44-32.
Led by Turner, the second unit helped create the separation that arguably allowed the Celtics to win the game, scoring 14 points as a whole in the second quarter to ignite the 18-6 run. Turner scored eight points alone in the quarter.
Crowder is becoming something of a cult hero in Boston thanks largely in part to his hustle and heart. He’s added a nice scoring touch of late, too, averaging 18 points per game in his past five outings.
That continued in the third quarter, when he exploded for 13 of his 18 points, highlighted by this nice alley-oop.
PLAYING IT SMART
Marcus Smart officially returned from injury with 2:52 remaining in the first quarter. A minute later, he hit the first bucket of his return on an and-1 floater. He left after six minutes of action.
Smart saw a few seconds of playing time toward the end of the second quarter. He then played the final 1:24 of the third quarter, exiting with just under seven minutes remaining in the fourth.
He wasn’t a huge factor in the game, but he played well. He finished with six points, three rebounds and an assist in 13 minutes of action.
KEEPING UP WITH CARMELO (AND KRISTAPS)
Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Anthony haunted the Celtics on Sunday.
New York’s eight-time All-Star poured in a game-high 29 points and nearly willed the Knicks to a win, constantly heating up and hitting shots when the game started to slip away. He was terrific on the glass, too, grabbing 10 rebounds for a double-double.
Rookie sensation Kristaps Porzingis was impressive as well in his New York-Boston rivalry debut, tallying 16 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. It was his 12th double-double of the season, second-most among NBA rookies.
The duo combined for 25 points in the second half and helped the Knicks pull within five points of the lead late, but the Celtics ultimately held on for the win.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Turner just finds ways to score, as he did with whatever you want to call this interesting play here.
Boston is back in action Wednesday when Kobe Bryant visits TD Garden for the final time with the Los Angeles Lakers. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images