Knicks overcome poor shooting, beat Celtics
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK – The New York Knicks didn’t resemble a second-seeded team that finished the regular season with 54 victories and the Atlantic Division title.
Sometimes-stagnant offense – too much dribble, too much one-on-one isolation – coupled with lackadaisical defense gave the seventh-seeded Boston Celtics a former champion’s chance in Game 1 of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
But it doesn’t always have to be pretty, as the Knicks’ 85-78 victory Saturday at Madison Square Garden can attest. It was the first series-opening home game for New York since 2001.
Game 2 is Tuesday in New York (8 p.m. ET, TNT).
It could have easily been a 1-0 Celtics lead headed into Game 2.
In an uneven offensive game for Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, he turned on the scoring faucet in the fourth quarter. He finished with a game-high 36 points, including eight in the final 7:49 of the game.
Anthony started hot, making his first four shots. But he cooled quickly and was 9-for-25 from the floor earlier in the fourth quarter. However, as volume shooters have the ability to do, Anthony made shots when the Knicks needed a bucket.
Consecutive baskets midway through the fourth quarter broke a 72-72 tie and gave the Knicks a 76-72 lead, and his layup after a steal put New York up 81-76 with 2:31 left in the game. A long two-pointer with 1:21 left made it 83-76.
The Knicks, who had two starters (Chris Copeland and Tyson Chandler) finish with zero points, shot 40.5% from the field.
Boston, which shot 41.5%, made five of 20 three-pointers. Celtics forward Jeff Green had 20 points in the first half, but New York limited his touches in the second half and he finished with 26.
The Celtics were sloppy. They committed 21 turnovers and the Knicks turned those mistakes into 20 points. On the flip side, Boston had just 10 points off of 13 Knicks turnovers.
Boston’s bench didn’t score a field goal, going 0-for-7, and got just four free throws from Courtney Lee. They have to get more production from Jason Terry, who was 0-of-5 and missed all four of his … [For more on Knicks overcome poor shooting, beat Celtics, click here.]