Celtics Vs. Knicks, Game 4: Kevin Garnett Carries Boston To 101-89 Win, Clean Sweep Of New York

The Boston Celtics and New York Knicks are locked in battle in the NBA Playoffs, just the latest chapter in their storied rivalry. Read more at SB Nation New York, as well as our team blogs, CelticsBlog and Posting and Toasting.

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Celtics 101, Knicks 89: Garnett And Rondo Pace Celts To Four-Game Sweep In New York

Needing just one more win to complete a four-game sweep over the New York Knicks on Sunday afternoon, the Celtics raced out to a 23-point lead, sweated out a spirited Knicks comeback and held fast, finishing off New York with a 101-89 win, advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals against the winner of the Miami/Philadelphia series, currently led 3-1 by the Heat.

Kevin Garnett led the C's with 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting and 10 rebounds, while Rajon Rondo continued his stellar play with 21 points (8-of-12 from the field), 12 assists and five rebounds. The Celts shot 49 percent and opened up a 17-point halftime lead that they would extend to as many as 23 in the third quarter. Glen Davis chipped in 14 points on 6-of-8 from the floor in by far his best game of the series, helping to make up for a couple of off days for Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, who combined for 27 points but shot just 10-of-31 from the floor.

The Knicks got a top-shelf performance from Carmelo Anthony, who scored 32 points and grabbed nine rebounds, but didn't get much help elsewhere. Amare Stoudemire, questionable right up to game time thanks to his sore back, struggled his way to 19 ponts on just 5-of-20 shooting. Stoudemire gutted out 44 minutes and did grab 12 rebounds, but was clearly not himself, missing nine of 10 first half shots. Reserve guard Anthony Carter sparked the Knicks near comeback in the third and fourth quarters, scoring 11 points to go with five rebounds and four assists along with a couple pretty defensive plays. The Knicks held the Celts without a field goal for more than seven monutes between the third and the fourth. But Pierce's runner and a jumper by Rondo out of a time out with just under seven minutes left pushed the Celts lead to eight after the Knicks had cut it to four, and the home team wouldn't get any closer.

The Celts, who swept their first series since a 3-0 triumph in a first-round, best-of-five against Indiana in 1992, will now have a week off, with Game 1 of their East semis scheduled for next Sunday. The Heat and Sixers will resume their series on Wednesday night in Miami. 

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Celtics Vs. Knicks, Game 4: Celts Go For Clean Sweep Sunday Afternoon At MSG

Three down, one to go.

Such is the state of things for the Celtics, who can close out the Knicks with a clean sweep in their Eastern Conference first round series Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. EDT, on ABC. After a couple of close calls in the first two games at TD Garden, the Celts invaded Madison Square Garden for Game 3 on Friday night and played like the championship caliber juggernaut we've come to know and love over the past four years, blowing out the Knicks, who were booed off the court by their own fans, 113-96.

Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were absolutely unconscious in the Game 3 win, combining for 70 points and connecting on 14-of-19 from 3-point range. But the true force behind the Celts dominating performance was Rajon Rondo, who exploded for a eye-popping triple-double, totaling 15 points, 11 rebounds and 20 assists.

The C's were also huge on the defensive end on Friday night, holding Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, who almost single-handedly won Game 2 with 42 points and 17 rebounds, to just 15 points on 4-of-16 shooting. The Knicks, who averaged 105 points per game during the regular season, were held under 100 for the third straight game and shot just 43.4 percent from the floor, with reserve Shawne Williams as their leading scorer with 17 points. Needless to say, the Celts will take that sort of scenario, especially if it involves the Knicks other star, Amare Stoudemire, finishing with a deadly quiet seven points and three rebounds thanks to a cranky back that was injured in Game 2. Stoudemire will be a game-time decision for Sunday's matchup.

One area that continues to be a issue for the Celts is that of the bench. Boston didn't need to worry about the lack of production from its second unit on Friday thanks to Pierce, Allen and Rondo. But the non-contributions from guys like Glen Davis, Jeff Green and Delonte West (averaging just under 12 points combined in the first three games) must be remedied if the C's are to continue to last in the playoffs. Davis in particular has to step up his game. The offense seems to stop dead in its tracks when he gets the ball lately, and he's settling too often for jumpers instead of using his considerable size and quickness to create easier shots.

Once again on Sunday, the Celts will be without Shaquille O'Neal. Whether this series continues after Game 4 or the Celtics advance, Shaq's availability going forward still remains to be seen.

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Celtics-Knicks, Game 2: C's Look To Go Two Games Up

Still basking in the glow of Ray Allen's game-winner that gave them a 1-0 lead in their opening round playoff series against the Knicks, the Celtics get back to work Tuesday night in Game 2 at 7 p.m. EDT, on TNT and Comcast Sports Net New England. And they may be getting a bit of a break thanks to the knee injury suffered by New York point guard Chauncey Billups in the late stages of Game 1.

Billups said that his leg, "buckled up on me," and he limped off with under a minute to play in Game 1. Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said Monday that his starter at the point is, "very questionable," for Game 2. If Billups can't go, the Knicks will counter with third-year man Toney Douglas, who drilled a big 3-pointer with 37 seconds left in Game 1 to give the Knicks a three point lead and finished the game with eight points on 3-of-8 shooting and two assists in 26 minutes and averaged 10.6 points and three assists per game in the regular season.

The Celtics, according to coach Doc Rivers, can't afford to take the Knicks lightly if they don't have Billups on Tuesday night, or else they may be falling into a trap. "Hopefully, it won't affect the way we approach the game," he told ESPN Boston. "We just have to worry about ourselves." In six games without Billups in March, Douglas put up 16.8 points and 6.8 assists per.

Billups's potential absence may aid the Celtics in the backcourt but where they would really like to see an advantage is up front. They got it in Game 1 thanks to Jermaine O'Neal's best game as a Celtic. O'Neal scored 12 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting and added three offensive rebounds and four resounding blocked shots in 22 active minutes. Overall, the Celts enjoyed a large rebounding advantage, something they haven't been able to do too much this year, especially in the later stages of the schedule. The totals were 44 boards to 34 with 15 on the offensive glass for the C's. Kevin Garnett led the way in that department for the Celts with 13, five offensive, while Rajon Rondo added nine.

The Celtics will also have to continue to play the kind of defense on Knicks star Carmelo Anthony that held him to 15 points on just 5-of-18 shooting. Anthony had a hard time getting untracked Sunday night after going to the bench with two fouls just 1:28 into the first quarter. But his 1-of-11 shooting in the second half was a direct result of the C's defense, particularly that of Paul Pierce. With Amare Stoudemire shining, sometimes dominating for the Knicks in Game 1, another big defensive effort on Anthony would go a long way for a 2-0 C's lead headed into Game 3 on Friday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.

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Celtics-Knicks, Game 1: Video Of Ray Allen's Game-Winner

The Boston Celtics trailed the New York Knicks at halftime of Game 1 of their NBA playoff series Sunday night, 51-43, following a particularly poor second quarter by the home team. But with the third quarter came a different Celtics team, one led by defense -- the Knicks were held to just 13 points in the third frame -- allowing Boston to battle back and take the lead with 9:05 left in the fourth quarter. 

The final nine minutes was back-and-forth, with the Knicks taking leads of 80-75 and 82-78, only to see the Celtics fight back and eventually draw to within one point with just 37.3 seconds left, 85-84, on a Kevin Garnett alley-oop. 

A Carmelo Anthony and a Jared Jeffries kickball violation gave the Celtics the ball with exactly 21 seconds left. Cue Ray Allen

He did it again. Again. 

Allen finished with 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting with six rebounds, but it didn't come easy to him on Sunday night. From CelticsBlog

Ray Allen led Boston with a very efficient 24 points on 9-15 shooting, but he wasn't hot early. He didn't take a single shot in the first frame, and only managed to attempt 3 in the whole first half. But in that second half, something clearly changed, and you saw guys like Delonte West (who played great tonight) sticking picks on guys like he was the left tackle for the Patriots. 3 field goal attempts in the first half turned into 12 in the second, including but not limited to his game winning shot with 11.6 seconds left.

Game 2 is set for Tuesday night, at 7 p.m. ET. 

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Celtics vs. Knicks, Game 1: Ray Allen's Late Three-Pointer Lifts Boston To Win, 87-85

If this is how the playoffs are going to go for the Celtics, their fans had better schedule a lot of relaxation time between games. Ray Allen's 3-pointer from the left wing with 11.8 seconds gave the Celts a stirring, come-from-behind, 87-85 win over the New York Knicks in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first round series in the 2011 NBA Playoffs

Carmelo Anthony launched a shot from long range with four seconds left but it barely grazed the front rim and was rebounded by Kevin Garnett, allowing the Celts to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

Allen led the Celts with 24 points, 18 of them in the second half, making 3-of-5 from deep while adding six rebounds. Paul Pierce had 18 points and held Anthony to just 1-of-11 shooting in the second half, Kevin Garnett posted 15 points and 13 rebounds and Jermaine O'Neal had his best game as a Celtic with 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting, four rebounds (three offensive) and four thunderous blocks.

The C's were looking less like a championship caliber team and more like the inconsistent mess they've resembled for the past six weeks in the first half, trailing 51-39 at the break and getting outscored 28-15 in the second quarter, shooting 41 percent to the Knicks 54 percent in the process. But there was a renewed intensity after halftime, especially on the defensive end, which allowed Boston to get back into the game. The C's cut the Knicks lead to five to close out the third quarter before the two teams traded punches in the fourth. The Knicks went back ahead by as many as five in the final frame, as Amare Stoudemire did his best to take over. Stoudemire scored 14 of his 28 points in the fourth, showcasing one monstrous post move after another in the process. But it was Anthony who took the last shot for New York, a rushed, contested 3-point attempt from well beyond the arc.

Anthony, who finished with 15 points, was called for an offensive foul away from the ball on Pierce with 21 seconds left and the Knicks up one, setting the stage for Allen's heroics. The Celts had trailed by three with 35 seconds to go after a huge 3-pointer by Knicks guard Toney Douglas. But the Celts executed a perfect alley-oop from Rajon Rondo (10 points, nine rebounds and nine assists) to Garnett to cut the New York lead to a point.

The Celts got just eight points out of their bench and shot just 44 percent from the floor on the night, issues that will need to be addressed before Game 2, which will be played on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. The Knicks may be without point guard Chauncey Billups, who left late in the fourth quarter with a strained knee, and did not return.

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