Circumstances looked rather promising for the New York Knicks late in the proceedings as the Knicks faced the Boston Celtics at the “New Garden” on Friday night. New York would hold the advantage as the game reached the half and with 2:03 remaining in the third quarter of the contest All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony drove the lane putting the rock in the hole; was fouled on the play and made his shot at the line putting his team on top by a score of 72-62.
The smiles on the Knicks players would begin to fade by the end of the period as they watched their double-digit lead shrink to just three points as their opponents ended the quarter on a 7-0 run. New York’s collapse became complete with 4:24 in the game as Celtics veteran Ray Allen unleashed a 25 foot trey putting the home team ahead 82-79. The home team never surrendered their advantage for the rest of the night as Boston held on for a 91-89 win.
The game was the third straight win for the Celtics who have an 8-2 mark in their last ten contests. The club had their starting lineup intact for the first time in the last couple of weeks as point guard Rajon Rondo returned from a wrist injury. Rondo scored just 7 points for the night but he would dish off 7 assists in his return. Paul Pierce scored a game high 30 points in the comeback victory, yet another game in which he has helped carry his team since their fortunes started to turn positive.
New York’s play of late has been at the other end of the spectrum as the club lost their second game in a row and have gone 2-8 in their last ten attempts. Published reports earlier this week stated that Knicks’ head coach Mike D’Antoni could be dismissed by the team on Saturday as Team Owner James Dolan is less than pleased with his squad’s performance. D’Antoni has never been a defensive minded coach, but this season his club has not been able to score consistently either, which has led to their 8-15 record after high expectations coming into the campaign. Carmelo Anthony knocked down 26 points in the loss while Tyson Chandler racked up a double-double including 20 points and Amar’e Stoudemire also notched a double-double with 16 points.
The two opponents battled throughout the opening period as they exchanged the lead back and forth many times in the period. Jeremy Lin hit two shots from the line just before time expired and the Knicks held a razor-thin 28-27 lead. New York looked as if they were ready to run away with the game with 2:00 to play when Anthony knocked down a mid-range jumper putting his team on top 50-39. Boston would outscore their visitors 10-5 down the stretch and trailed 55-49 at the half.
New York would once again surge out in front of their opponents early in the third but they started to fall apart in the closing moments of the quarter. Celtics veteran Chris Wilcox drove the lane putting the ball up and in at the buzzer and the Knicks lead was down to 72-69 at the conclusion of the period. With 6:16 left in the contest Brandon Bass drained a mid-range jumper knotting up the score at 79-79. Neither team scored for almost two minutes when Allen hit what would turn out to be the game winning trey.
Pierce scored 30 points, 7 rebounds, a block and a steal in the victory. Kevin Garnett had 15 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists while Allen added 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and a block.
Anthony knocked down 26 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds and a block while Chandler had 20 points, 11 rebounds, 4 steals, an assist and a block. Stoudemire would put up 16 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal while Landry Fields chipped in 11 points, 4 assists, 3 steals, 2 rebounds and 1 block. Boston improves to 12-10 and will host the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday while New York has a record of 8-15 and they will host the New Jersey Nets Saturday.