Celtics again tip Knicks
“We were lucky to win,” coach Doc Rivers said after a 96-93 victory on Tuesday night over the depleted New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony’s 42 points.
Kevin Garnett sank the go-ahead basket with 14 seconds left then stole the ball with 4 seconds remaining as the Knicks—without Amare Stoudemire for the second half and Chauncey Billups for the whole game—still gave the Celtics all they could handle.
“I probably (have) never been more proud of a team and how they battled the circumstances,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said, “how hard they played and how tough they played.”
Billups had a strained left knee, and his status for Game 3 on Friday night is uncertain. Stoudemire had back spasms but expects to be back when the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series resumes.
Rajon Rondo led the Celtics with a career playoff-high 30 points, 14 of them in the first quarter when he kept driving to the basket.
“I tried to attack Game 1,” he said, “It’s just (that) my lanes were getting blocked.”
Anthony matched his career playoff high for points and set a new high with 17 rebounds as the Knicks held a 53-37 advantage on the boards. Toney Douglas had 14 points in place of Billups.
Paul Pierce had 20 points after missing his first five shots, and Ray Allen, who hit the game-winning three-pointer in Boston’s 87-85 win in the opener, scored 18.
Now the sixth-seeded Knicks, who have tested the third-seeded Celtics, must win at least one of two at home to bring the series back to Boston.
“The Celtics didn’t do anything special,” Anthony said. “They won two games on their home court. Now it’s our turn to go to our home court and try to do the same thing.”
Garnett hit the decisive jump hook after backing Jared Jeffries into the lane.
“I wasn’t really in a nice rhythm,” said Garnett, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds. “I just remained calm, went to a shot I knew I could make.”
Anthony was the obvious choice to shoot on New York’s final possession. So Pierce and Glen Davis swarmed him when he got the ball just inches from Boston’s bench, forcing him to pass to Jeffries, who tried an interior pass instead of going up with the shot.
The Knicks then fouled Delonte West, who made two free throws with 0.6 seconds to go.
-- Magic 88, Hawks 92—Dwight Howard had 33 points and 19 rebounds, Jameer Nelson added 13 points and eight rebounds, and Orlando held off visiting Atlanta.
The Magic evened the best-of-seven series, with Game 3 Friday night in Atlanta.
-- Mavericks 101, Trail Blazers 89—At Dallas, Peja Stojakovic tied his career playoff best with five three-pointers and had 21 points, and Jason Kidd added 18 points, powering the Mavericks over Portland and a 2-0 series lead.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 33 points in the final quarter for Dallas, which hadn’t won the first two games of a playoff series since the 2006 NBA finals.
Portland led most of the first half, but the Mavericks went ahead on a 3-pointer by Kidd seconds into the second half and never trailed again. Dallas spread out its scoring, tightened up its defense and protected the ball — zero turnovers the final 28:42.