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Led by Carmelo Anthony’s triple double, the hot-shooting New York Knicks defeated the Boston Celtics, 118-108, Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. The game resulted in a season-split between the teams.
The Knicks improved to 14-5 under interim coach Mike Woodson.
The Celtics started hot out of the gate, jumping out to a quick 9-2 lead after connecting on their first three shots. New York answered with an Anthony-led 11-0 run. Anthony carried the Knicks early, scoring eight of the team’s first 13 points.
The two teams traded scoring streaks, but New York pulled ahead behind tough defense and the three-ball. The Knicks closed the opening quarter on a 15-2 run, including big three’s by J.R. Smith and guard Iman Shumpert, and led 32-26 heading into the second.
Paul Pierce had seven points in the first but left with a foot injury. Rajon Rondo continued his impressive play with five points and five assists in the first 12 minutes. Anthony led all scorers with 12 in the first.
The Knicks’ run continued in the second, opening with an 8-0 run behind two more Smith three-pointers. He began the game 4-for-4 from beyond the arc.
The Knicks continued to light it up from three, hitting 11-of-15 in the second quarter. The New York lead stretched as high as 21.
Bench scoring was a huge factor in the first half, as the Knicks’ bench outscored the Celtics’ 39-0. Smith had 21 points at halftime on 7-for-9 three-point shooting to lead all scorers. Anthony added 19 of his own, as the Knicks led 72-53 at halftime.
Avery Bradley led Boston with 14 first-half points on 5-for-6 shooting. Rondo went into the half with 11 points and nine assists.
Celtics fans everywhere gasped in the third quarter after Rondo took a hard fall to the floor. Going for a rebound, he hit the hardwood on his lower back and lay there in obvious pain. Fortunately, he returned after a brief rest.
Boston closed to within 10, led by Pierce’s 17 third-quarter points. Brandon Bass and Eastern Conference Player of the Week Kevin Garnett contributed as well, adding seven and five respectively in the quarter.
Anthony scored 10 in the third, helping the Knicks to a 96-84 advantage heading into the final quarter.
Pierce continued his hot play in the fourth, opening the quarter with eight more points in the first three minutes. The Celtics and Knicks traded punches throughout the fourth, with the Knicks answering every time it seemed the Celtics would come back.
Boston got as close as six before a huge pair of Steve Novak three-pointers seemingly ended it, pushing New York’s lead to 10 with just over two minutes left in the game.
Pierce finished with a game-high 43 points on 11-for-19 shooting. Rondo hit double digits in assists for the 23rd straight game in the loss. Ray Allen missed his fifth straight game and 11th out of the last 16.
Anthony recorded a triple-double with a team-high 35 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists. Novak and Smith each scpred 25, as New York outscored 55-2 off the bench. New York’s three-point shooting was key, as they went 19-for-32 from beyond the arc.
The Celtics will try to rebound Wednesday as they return to the TD Garden following their four-game road trip. Boston will face the Orlando Magic, with both teams jockeying for playoff positioning.