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After blowing most of 26-point lead, Knicks beat Celtics 88-80 to advance in playoffs

  • abd114d6f787d80e300f6a70670035d0.jpg

    Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce, right, yells as he tries to drive past New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during the first quarter in Game 6 of their first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Boston, Friday, May 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) (The Associated Press)

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    New York Knicks guard Jason Kidd, right, celebrates a three-point basket by teammate Pablo Prigioni during the first quarter against the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of their first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Boston, Friday, May 3, 2013. From left to right, are: Prigioni (9), Chris Copeland, Quentin Richardson and Kidd. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) (The Associated Press)

Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points and the New York Knicks held on after blowing most of a 26-point lead to beat the Boston Celtics 88-80 in Game 6 on Friday night and advance in the postseason for the first time since 2000.

Iman Shumpert scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half, when the Celtics cut a 75-49 deficit to four points. But Anthony made a jumper to give New York an 81-75 lead and then sank a 3-pointer, then J.R. Smith converted a three-point play to restore the double-digit lead the Knicks had nursed most of the game.

Jeff Green scored 21 points for the Celtics, who had rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the series and had a chance, at home, to force a decisive seventh game.

No NBA team has advanced in the playoffs after losing the first three games.