Knicks cruise past Celts, take 3-0 series lead

The New York Knicks used another dominant half to guide them to victory.

This time it was during the opening 24 minutes.

Carmelo Anthony netted 26 points and the Knicks took a commanding 3-0 series lead following a 90-76 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of this Eastern Conference first-round series.

Raymond Felton added 15 points and 10 assists for New York, which is a win away from advancing past the first round since sweeping the Toronto Raptors during the 1999-2000 season.

The Celtics played their first home game since the Boston Marathon bombings 11 days ago, but the raucous Beantown faithful were quickly taken out of the contest.

Boston committed to double-teaming Anthony in the first half and the Knicks made the Celts pay from beyond the arc, where they went 7-of-14 from 3- point range. Pablo Prigioni nailed three of those triples. Boston, meanwhile, shot just 35 percent.

New York took a 16-point advantage into the break and was never seriously threatened in the second half.

The Knicks had excelled during the second half of games during the first two tilts of this set.

In Game 1, New York held Boston 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 Knicks used their stifling defense in the second half of Game 2 as well. Boston recorded just 23 points and shot just 19.4 percent over the last two stanzas.

J.R. Smith was tossed out of the contest following a flagrant foul two with 7:06 remaining for throwing an elbow into Jason Terry's face. The league office will look at the replay to determine whether to discipline Smith further.

Jeff Green tallied 21 points for the Celtics, who went 27-13 at TD Garden during the regular season.

New York will go for the series sweep Sunday in Boston.

Terry's layup gave the Celtics the first points of the contest and their only lead of the game. Prigioni hit a pair of treys as the Knicks responded with a 10-2 spurt to take a 10-4 edge.

New York took a 23-18 cushion after one, but the Knicks began to pull away during the latter stages of the second.

After Green's hook shot pulled Boston within 36-27 a little past the midway point of the quarter, New York answered with an 11-2 burst. Anthony scored the first eight points of the swing before Felton hit a 3-pointer to push the margin to 47-29.

The Knicks led 47-31 at the half. Anthony had 12 points at the break.

A 7-0 mini run got Boston within 49-38, but Anthony sunk a triple and Felton drove in for a layup to push the lead back to 16.

New York took a 68-52 advantage after three and the Celtics never got within single digits in the fourth.

Game Notes

New York went 11-of-27 from beyond the arc ... The Celtics have not reached the 80-point plateau in any of the first three games ... Boston turned the ball over 18 times, which led to 26 New York points.