The Knicks earned a season split against the Boston Celtics with a 118-110 win tonight at Madison Square Garden. Carmelo Anthony had his second career triple-double, pouring in 35 points along with 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Paul Pierce led all scorer’s with 43 points in a losing effort.
After a Celtics 9-2 spurt to open the game, the Knicks put on offensive show of blistering proportions. They shot 63% from the floor in the first quarter, led by Carmelo Anthony’s 12 points, to come back from the early deficit and finish the period up 32-26.
In the second quarter, the Knicks held a team Three-Point shoot-out, won by J.R. Smith. The man known as “Swish” connected on five three-pointers in the quarter and seven in the first half. Not to be out done, Steve Novak hit four shots from beyond the arc as part of the Knicks barrage of 11 three-pointers.
With the Knicks up 19 to open the second half, the Celtics began chipping away at the lead. They out scored the Knicks 31-24 in the third quarter, cutting a 19 point deficit to 12. Paul Pierce led Boston with 17 points in the quarter. Meanwhile, Anthony and Tyson Chandler combined for 22 of the 24 Knicks points, not allowing the team to fold as Boston crept closer.
In the fourth quarter with the Knicks up 112-99 with 5:10 remaining, a 7-0 Celtics run cut the New York lead to six. Then Steve Novak stole Superman’s cape and hit two more shots from beyond the arc to ice the game.
The triple-double was the second of Anthony’s career, first as a Knick. Smith and Novak combined for 50 points on 15-for-20 shooting from downtown. Tyson Chandler finished with 20 points and seven rebounds, connecting on nine of his 10 shots. Mike Bibby had some good minutes off the bench, finishing with six assists and five rebounds.
The win puts the Knicks three and a half games behind Boston for the lead in the Atlantic Divison. Before getting into complicated tie breaking scenarios, the Knicks must defeat the Nets tomorrow night to remain alive. A loss tomorrow gives the Celtics the division title as it would mean they would have a better confernce record than New York, giving them the first tie breaker. Combined with the 76ers loss to the Pacers, the Knicks now have sole possession of seventh in the East, one game ahead of Philadelphia.