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The ‘good’ JR Smith showed up at the TD Banknorth Garden for the Knicks and erupted for 32 points and seven rebounds in a 100-85 win over the Garnett-less Celtics.
Not only was Kevin Garnett sidelined for the Celtics, but Courtney Lee also missed his second straight game with an ankle injury. One has to think that Lee’s defense and size could have helped the Celtics in slowing down Smith.
Jeff Green led the Celtics with 19 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, while Paul Pierce added 16 points, rebounds and six assists. Jordan Crawford, starting in place of Lee, recorded 14 points and played a game high 41 minutes.
Carmelo Anthony shot his way to 29 points for a Knicks team that have won their last five games and now find themselves in control of a once tight Atlantic Division race.
The Celtics played a lousy first-half defensively and let the Knicks rattle off a 14-0 run as the game barreled toward the half. The Celtics couldn’t find the energy to make a run of their own in the second half, in part due to their lack of depth. The typical grit and flare that usually sparks the Celtics-Knicks rivalry was completely absent from this contest after the Celtics got down early.
The Celtics will look to put an end to their five game skid tomorrow, when they travel to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers.