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Ray Allen hit the game winning three with 11 seconds left to help the Celtics rally to beat the New York Knicks 87-85 in game one of their best-of-seven series.
The Celtics were able to jump out to an early five-point lead in the first quarter, 20-15 as Carmelo Anthony was forced to watch from the bench due to foul trouble. They would end the first however up just one, 24-23.
The second quarter was all New York, as they outscored the Celtics 28-15. Anthony scored 12 of his 15 points in the second quarter as the Knicks out shot the Celtics 65 percent to 33. The hot shooting allowed the Knicks to grab a 51-39 halftime lead.
The Celtics came out of the locker room with new energy. They held the Knicks to 13 points in the third quarter and cut the deficit to five heading in the fourth. They began the fourth on a 7-0 run, powered by a Ray Allen three and back-to-back baskets by Delonte West and Jeff Green. Then, Amare Stoudemire took over.
Trailing 66-64 early in the fourth, Stoudemire caught fire, scoring 12 of their next 18 points and giving them a 82-78 lead with 2:46 remaining. The problem was Stoudemire would not touch the ball again.
After a Paul Pierce jumper and a Jermaine O’Neal put-back, the score was all tied up at 82. The Knicks came down the court and with 38 seconds left Tony Douglas hit a three to put the Knicks up 85-82. The Celtics immediately called a timeout and then on the inbound, they scored when Rondo tossed an alley-oop to Kevin Garnett.
The Knicks’ lead was one with 21 seconds left, when Carmelo Anthony was called for an offensive foul for pushing Paul Pierce. The rest is history. Ray Allen sank a three to put the Celtics up 85-84 with just 11 seconds left. The Knicks, who were out of timeouts, ran down the floor and Anthony took a contested three pointer with two seconds left that fell short.
Carmelo Anthony’s offensive foul with 21 seconds left. Had Anthony not been called for the foul, the Celtics would have been forced to foul. The game then would have been decided at the foul line, where the Knicks were 11-16, 68.8% for the game.
Ray Allen’s game winning three was the cherry on top of an excellent game. Allen led all Celtics with 24 points on 9-15 shooing and 3-5 from three.
The Celtics will look to take a 2-0 series lead when these teams meet up Tuesday at 7 p.m.