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Chicago couldn’t do it. Miami couldn’t do it. Boston could. The Celtics punched the first ticket to the second round on Sunday, beating the New York Knicks 101-89 to complete the sweep. Carmelo Anthony’s 32 points couldn’t help the Knicks, who shrank a 23-point lead to four, but couldn’t complete the comeback.
Glen Davis started by drawing a charge from Amar’e Stoudemire. Boston then took a quick 4-0 lead, but spent the next several minutes trading the lead back and forth with New York. Boston opened up a six-point lead (later seven) later in the quarter before settling on a 29-23 lead to end the quarter.
Boston stretched their lead into double digits early in the 2nd, and between bouts where neither team could put up points easily, began to stretch their lead further and further. Big Baby Davis took another Stoudemire charge, which also helped. By the time halftime rolled around, Boston led 55-38.
One three from Paul Pierce to start the 2nd half, and Boston led by 20. Boston stretched it to 23 1:41 into the half, and though the Celtics held off the Knicks for half of the 3rd quarter, New York stormed back, and cut the deficit to 82-72 heading into the final frame.
New York cut the lead all the way down to 84-40 with 7:35 to go before Boston hit it’s first field goal of the quarter (and first in 7:16) 4:46 into the quarter. From there, Boston put their foot down, and put the lead back into double digits, 95-85, with 4:12 remaining. Once New York realized they could no longer score on Boston at will, it was a simple matter to burn time off the clock, get stops and close the book on the Knicks.
In handing New York their 10th straight playoff loss, Boston improved to 5-8 in Game 4s when leading 3-0, and completed their first sweep since 1992 against the Pacers.
Rondo kept the ball moving with 12 assists, and added 21 points to help Boston’s cause. Five more rebounds and he would’ve had a triple double.
Boston just phoned it in for a quarter’s worth of play. Playing a full 48 minutes and not giving up 13 offensive rebounds would help in the future.
“What you saw tonight was a microcosm of our season at times, where we’re playing well and all of a sudden we just go away from it for awhile.” – Doc Rivers on Boston’s performance