New York, NY – Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 34 points and the New York Knicks used a strong third quarter to beat the Boston Celtics, 87-71, in Game 2 of this first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
The second-seeded Knicks shot 70.6 percent from the field in the third period while outscoring Boston by a 32-11 margin. The Celtics were held to 22.2 percent shooting in the stanza.
Anthony also led the way for the Knicks Saturday in their 85-78 victory. He scored a game-high 36 points.
"It was a tale of two halves today and last game. We had to find a rhythm, find some shots," Anthony said. "In the second half, in the third quarter, we came out very aggressive and applied our defense. We got stops and it opened up our offensive game. We buckled down on the defensive end and it opened up our offensive game."
J.R. Smith, the winner of this season's NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award, added 19 points on Tuesday for New York, which got 16 points and seven rebounds from Raymond Felton.
Paul Pierce ended with 18 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Celtics, who held a 48-42 lead at the half. Kevin Garnett recorded a double- double with 12 points and 11 boards.
Game 3 is scheduled for Friday night in Boston.
"We are going back to Boston. I guess they say, 'the series hasn't started', and I have heard this corny line a million times, 'until the road team wins.' I am positive the series has started because we are down 2-0," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.
Iman Shumpert made a pair of 3-pointers early in the third quarter to spark a 24-4 New York run. Anthony tallied nine points during the surge, including a jumper with 4:25 remaining to give the Knicks a 66-52 lead.
Anthony ended with 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the third frame. His slam with 31.8 seconds left gave New York a 74-59 margin heading to the fourth.
Boston started the final stanza on a better note, going on an 8-2 spurt. Jordan Crawford's jumper with 9:16 to play cut the gap to 76-67. It proved to be the last made field goal of the game for the Celtics.
The Celtics went 3-of-18 from the field over the final minutes. The visitors shot just 19.4 percent from the floor in the second half.
Boston held a 20-15 lead with 1:57 to go in the first quarter, but the Knicks scored the final 11 points of the frame. Smith tallied the final five points, including a long 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it a 26-20 contest.
The Celtics responded with a 16-4 run to start the second period. Jason Terry's 3-pointer put Boston in front by six, 36-30, near the midway mark of the stanza.
The visitors led for the remainder of the quarter and took a 48-42 margin into the locker room.
Knicks guard Pablo Prigioni returned to the lineup after missing Game 1 with a sprained ankle ... The Knicks haven't won a postseason series since 2000 ... Crawford and Jeff Green had 10 points apiece for Boston.