BOSTON - Boston beat New York by a safety on Friday night, a result that Celtics captain Paul Pierce hopes will repeat itself on Sunday when those other teams from these two cities, the Patriots and Giants, meet in Super Bowl XLVI.
Pierce scored a game-high 30 points, scoring 15 points in each half, as the C's played lockdown defense when it mattered the most to seal a 91-89 victory over the Knicks on Friday night at TD Garden.
Pierce was 8-for-21 from the field and also had seven rebounds and five assists. Boston held New York to 42.5 percent shooting in the win while allowing 17 points in both the third and fourth quarters. In the final period, the Knicks made just 8-of-23 field goals to shoot 34.8 percent.
"I think it starts with our defense," Pierce said of the strong fourth quarter. "Rajon Rondo really came in and took control of the offense, Ray Allen got hot late. That was a gritty win, because we didn't play well. Calls didn't really go our way, but calls didn't really go their way either. We found a way to win, and it was a good win."
Boston found itself down 55-49 at halftime, but outscored New York 20-17 in the third and 22-17 in the fourth. Entering the final quarter, the C's were down 72-69. Pierce and Ray Allen led the offensive charge in the fourth, with pierce scoring five points and Allen adding nine points down the stretch.
Chris Wilcox (six points, four rebounds) made two free throws to tie the game at 77 all with 7:43 to play. Carmelo Anthony, who scored a team-high 26 points on 8-of-17 shooting, traded buckets with Brandon Bass to make the score 79 all with 6:17 to go.
Allen drained his first of two threes in the quarter on a 25-footer at 4:24 and made a free throw following a technical foul on Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni. Pierce made a 20-foter and Allen hit a three and had a layup to put Boston up 90-85 with 1:57 remaining.
New York answered with four straight points, bringing the game within one point at 90-89 with just under one minute and 30 seconds to go. Pierce made a leaning three as the shot clock expired, putting Boston up 93-89 at the time, but upon further review it was called off. Nevertheless, Landry Fields missed the potential game-winning three in the corner and Pierce made one of two free throws to put Boston up by three. Steve Novak's desperation three was no good as the clock wound down, and Boston escaped with its second straight win.