New York, NY – Carmelo Anthony's late-season scoring surge has carried into the playoffs.
And the New York Knicks clamped down defensively in the second half, especially in the fourth.
Anthony netted 36 points in the Knicks' 85-78 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of this Eastern Conference first-round series.
Anthony was 13-of-29 from the field and added six rebounds and four steals for the Knicks, who were swept by the Celtics in the first round two years ago.
"It's going to be a battle," Anthony said. "Although we won today, we really didn't do anything. We're just protecting our home court. Game 2 will be even tougher, even harder."
The Celtics were held to just eight points in the fourth, and 25 overall in the final 24 minutes. Boston shot just 25.9 percent in the second half and made just three baskets -- 27.3 percent (3-of-11) -- in the final frame. The Celtics committed eight of their 21 turnovers in the fourth.
J.R. Smith netted 15 points, while Raymond Felton added 13 points and six assists in the win. New York's bench outscored Boston's by a commanding 33-4 spread.
New York held a 10-4 advantage on the offensive glass and a 12-6 edge in second-chance points.
Jeff Green scored 20 of his 26 points in the first half and Paul Pierce registered 21 points and seven assists for Boston, which wore a special patch on its jerseys in response to the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people on Monday.
"They started to be more aggressive when I caught the ball, double teams," Green said about why he struggled to score in the second half. "I didn't get in transition like I did in the first half. We have to continue to be aggressive."
Pierce rattled home a right-wing 3-pointer to cap an 11-1 run to give Boston its largest lead at 70-63 with 1:20 in the third, but it was the Celtics only field goal for the next 5:08 as the Knicks countered with a 9-0 spurt that bled into the fourth quarter.
Anthony nailed a turnaround jumper and Jason Kidd sunk two free throws to bring New York within 70-67 heading into the fourth. Kenyon Martin capped the swing with a three-point play after Courtney Lee appeared to steal a Kidd pass along the right baseline, but as he was trying to save the ball, he threw it underneath the basket right to Martin, who converted the layup and free throw to make it 72-70 with 9:26 remaining.
A bit later, after Pierce knocked down a jumper to bring the Celts within 76-74, New York countered with a 7-2 stretch to put the game away.
Smith drove in for a layup before Felton split a pair from the foul line. After Pierce nailed another jumper, back-to-back buckets by Anthony pushed the margin to 83-76 with 1:21 to go.
Anthony made his first four shots from the field and netted 10 points as the Knicks jumped out to a 12-6 margin. Boston, though, rallied and led 29-26 after a quarter of play.
Green scored 12 points in the second as the Celts headed into the break with a 53-49 advantage.
After beginning 4-of-4 from the field, Anthony went just 2-of-11 to close the opening half.
The Knicks went 54-28 on the year and ended the Celtics' five-year run atop the Atlantic Division. It was New York's first division title since the 1993-94 season ... The Knicks haven't won a postseason series since 2000 ... Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was in attendance and was booed by the New York faithful, which drew a chuckle from the signal caller ... Boston shot 41.5 percent for the game ... The second contest of this best-of-seven set is Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.