Knicks 118, Celtics 108: Paul Pierce Scores 43, But Celts Fall Short

Paul Pierce scored a season-high 43 points, but the Boston Celtics' could not complete their comeback after trailing by 19 at halftime, losing 118-110 to the New York Knicks. Carmelo Anthony had 35 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.

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Knicks 118, Celtics 110: Paul Pierce Scores 43, But Celts Fall Short

NEW YORK - Usually, when a team makes fourteen threes in the first half, there isn't much hope for a comeback. Then again, most teams aren't as resilient as the Boston Celtics.

Boston surrendered 72 first-half points and trailed by 19 at the half, but pulled within six in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, that was as close as they would get, as the Knicks proved to be too much and walked away with a 118-110 win Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

"They beat us," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, whose team fell to 36-26 with four games left. "I thought they played well, no excuses from us. I thought we overreacted early and started trapping so early in the game, we never do that. I didn't like it, and we did it."

Paul Pierce's performance kept the Celtics within striking distance, as he had a season-high 43 points on 11-of-19 shooting (he also made 17-of-18 free throws) in 43 minutes.

"I guess that's what a couple days off in New York will do," said Pierce, who hadn't topped the 40-point plateau since 2006. "I had a chance to rest for a few days. It felt good and I got into a little groove, but it wasn't enough. I would rather have a win and not play well."

All four Celtics starters reached double-digits in points, with Kevin Garnett scoring 20, Avery Bradley totaling 17 points, Brandon Bass scoring 15 and Rajon Rondo totaling 13 points. Rondo had 13 assists, extending his double-digit assists streak to 23 games.

Carmelo Anthony carried the Knicks, totaling 35 (19 in the first half) 12 rebounds and 10 assists. J.R. Smith had 21 points off the bench on 7-of-9 shooting from three-point range and finished with 25 points. Tyson Chandler had 20 points and Steve Novak added 25 points. New York shot 57.5 percent from the field and finished 19-of-32 from long range.

"We talked about maybe overreacting to Carmelo (Anthony)," said Pierce. "We allowed them to swing the ball to open shooters. It ignited the other guys and gave them a lot of confidence. Sometimes we have nights like that. They shot the ball and made some threes. We didn't defend the three at all tonight and we dug ourselves out of a huge hole."

The first half was a thing of beauty for New York. The Knicks led 32-26 after the first quarter and went on an absolute tear from three-point range, sinking 11-of-15 treys to finish the half 14-of-21 from long distance. Thirty three of the Knicks' forty points in the quarter came from beyond the arc. New York's reserves outscored Boston's bench 39-0 in the opening half.

"It was great," Novak said about the Knicks' first half, in which he scored 13. "I got it going. Hitting those shots, it was super contagious. They were falling."

"It is a great feeling especially at home," Anthony said about his team's first-half play. "Get the fans going, get our confidence going, especially coming off a loss."

Boston made up some ground in the third quarter, pulling within 10 points (81-71) before finishing the quarter down 96-84. The third-quarter run was sparked by 17 points from Pierce, who had 26 points and four fouls heading into the final quarter.

The comeback effort continued late into the fourth, as Pierce scored 14 in the period and had the Celts within six, 112-106, with nearly three minutes remaining. Novak put to rest any hopes of a full comeback by hitting back-to-back threes, making it a 118-108 game.

"We panicked," Rivers said about his team's defense. "We trapped too early. We were doing things that we shouldn't have done. It happens. We talked about it at halftime. I thought we were better at it, and then we did it again in the fourth quarter out of nowhere ... I told the guys this was a good lesson for us, don't overreact to a great player. And I thought we did that."

The Celtics finished their four-game road trip at 2-2 and return home to host the Magic on Wednesday night before heading back out on the road to face the Hawks on Friday.

AUDIO: Paul Pierce Postgame (4-17-12) | AUDIO: Rajon Rondo Postgame (4-17-12)


Final - 4.17.2012 1 2 3 4 Total
Boston Celtics 26 27 31 26 110
New York Knicks 32 40 24 22 118

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Celtics Vs. Knicks Halftime Score: New York Torching Boston, 72-53

NEW YORK - After trading runs for the majority of the first quarter, the Boston Celtics fell behind the New York Knicks, who hit a barrage of threes in the second quarter, and trailed 72-53 heading into halftime at Madison Square Garden.

Carmelo Anthony led the attack, scoring 19 points in the half and J.R. Smith scored 21 off the bench, including 7-of-9 threes. New York shot a sizzling 63.4 percent from the field (26-for-41) and 66.7 percent from three-point range (14-for-21).

Boston opened the game on an 8-2 run, but New York would answer with an 11-1 run to take a 13-9 game. After the Celtics went on a 6-0 run to take back the lead, 17-13, the Knicks closed out the period with a 19-9 run to take a 32-26 lead after one. New York scored the first eight points in the second and held Boston scoreless through the 8:54 mark. In the period, the Knicks made 11 three pointers in the quarter and outscored the Celts, 40-27.

Avery Bradley scored 14 and Paul Pierce had 12 points to lead Boston, which shot 54.3 percent from the floor. Rajon Rondo had 11 points and nine assists. Boston's bench was outscored 39-0 and the C's were out-rebounded 20-13.



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Celtics Vs. Knicks: Ray Allen, Mickael Pietrus Both Out For Boston

NEW YORK - If you thought the Boston Celtics would return to full health Tuesday night, well, think again. Ray Allen and Mickael Pietrus will both be held out of the Celtics' game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. EST; TNT/WEEI). Allen is out with a swollen right ankle and Pietrus has been sent back to Boston with a knee injury.

"I had all my ETOs and stuff planned and got here, got a the grim reaper, that's what we call [trainer] Eddie [LaCerte] when he comes in, and he gave me the news," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. "Just roll with it, and we'll see tomorrow."

Allen has been sidelined with his ankle injury since Wednesday, April 11, but reports indicated that he would return to the lineup against the Knicks on Tuesday night. As for Pietrus, Rivers believes his injury is a result of the recent busy schedule.

"Probably the three games in a row," Rivers said. "You kind of forget that he's been out for so long, and we kind of threw him right back into the fire. Probably there a day or two, three games in a row for him. His knee swelled up, so we sent him back home right away."

Allen is averaging 14.2 points and Pietrus is averaging 6.8 points this season for Boston.

More pregame news and notes can be heard in the audio links below.

AUDIO: Doc Rivers Pregame (4-17-12) | AUDIO: Ray Allen Pregame (4-17-12)


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Celtics Vs. Knicks: Greetings From Madison Square Garden

NEW YORK - Another sure to be thrilling battle between Boston and New York sports teams takes place Tuesday night as the Celtics and Knicks battle inside Madison Square Garden, where we will have your live courtside coverage.

As is usually the case when these two teams meet, there is a lot riding on Tuesday's game (tip off at 8 p.m. EST on TNT/WEEI). Boston leads New York by 4 1/2 games in the race for the Atlantic Division title with five to play (New York has six games left). A win tonight for Boston, coupled with a 76ers loss, would give it a fifth straight division title.

The Celtics will have the service of the Big Three, two of whom (Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett) did not travel with the team for its back-to-back-to-back finale against the Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday and another in Ray Allen who has been sidelined with right ankle swelling. Of course, the team will also have the services of Rajon Rondo, whose streak of games with double-digit assists has swelled to 22. All of those players will obviously be keys to winning for Boston.

New York boasts hot-handed Carmelo Anthony, who is averaging 31.7 points and 7.3 rebounds in the month of April (he has also scored 42 points in a game on two occasions this month), but will be without its second best player, Amar'e Stoudemire, who is eyeing Friday as the return date from his back injury. Jeremy Lin, who rose to fame earlier in the season with the Knicks, is out for the remainder of the regular season with a meniscal tear.

These two teams put on a show in their first meeting of the year at Madison Square Garden on Christmas Day, and with the Big Three healthy this time around and a red-hot Melo, we may be able to expect a similar outcome.



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Celtics Vs. Knicks: Boston Seeks Division Crown In New York City

Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics (36-25) seek the Atlantic Division crown as they face Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks (31-29) at 8 p.m. EST on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in New York City (TV/Radio: TNT/WEEI).

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