Celtics down Knicks

Boston 111, Knicks 103
February 13, 2008 7:33:49 PM PST
Paul Pierce scored 24 points, and his newly minted All-Star teammate Ray Allen added 21 to help the Boston Celtics beat the New York Knicks 111-103 on Wednesday night and head into the break with a five-game winning streak. Leon Powe and Rajon Rondo had 18 points apiece, and sub James Posey had 11 rebounds for Boston. Already without Kevin Garnett, who missed his ninth consecutive game with an abdominal strain, the Celtics lost forwards Brian Scalabrine to a groin pull and Glen "Big Baby" Davis to a quadriceps injury in the first half.

But they picked up another All-Star in the third quarter, when the NBA announced that Allen had been added to the Eastern Conference team to replace the injured Caron Butler. The news was announced over the public address system between the third and fourth quarters, earning Allen a standing ovation.

Jamal Crawford scored 26 points for New York, and Zach Randolph had 20 points and 13 rebounds in just 26 minutes before fouling out. David Lee had 18 points and eight boards for the Knicks, who lost coach Isiah Thomas early in the fourth to two quick technicals.

The game was only briefly competitive, after the Knicks cut into Boston's 27-point third-quarter lead to make it 97-90 with seven minutes left. But the Celtics scored the next eight points to pull away and improve to 7-2 without Garnett.

Scalabrine left in the first three minutes, and Davis followed after landing hard on his left leg and grasping his knee in pain.

New York lost Thomas on a pair of technicals 78 seconds apart early in the fourth quarter. The Knicks coach was complaining about a call when he was whistled for his first "T" by referee Mark Lindsay with 11:35 left in the game. Lindsay called his second technical and pointed toward the locker room with 10:17 to play.

Thomas stood on the sideline, his hands on his hips, incredulous. He waved Celtics coach Doc Rivers over, shook his hand and gave him a hug before heading off the court.

The Knicks lost in Boston 104-59 on Nov. 29, getting Nate Robinson's 37-foot 3-pointer at the final buzzer to avoid scoring the fewest points in franchise history.

This one was closer - but the outcome wasn't any more in doubt.

The Celtics led 53-40 at the half and scored the first 12 points of the third quarter, opening the half with two steals by Pierce and another by Rajon Rondo. Boston took a 75-48 lead with 6:04 left before the Knicks began to chip away at the deficit.

New York ended the third with a 10-2 run, making it 85-72 on a 22-footer by Crawford in the final seconds.


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