Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Carmelo Anthony's 34 points paved the way for the rejuvenated New York Knicks' fifth straight win, a 116-92 blasting of the Boston Celtics at TD Garden.
The Knicks shot an impressive 52.5 percent and never trailed in matching a season high for consecutive victories. Tim Hardaway Jr. pitched in with 22 points off the bench on a 7-of-11 success rate, with Cole Aldrich coming through with a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds while making a rare start at center.
Wednesday's win closed New York within three games of Atlanta for the eighth and final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.
"Regardless of who we play, we're just taking it one game at a time," said Anthony. "These are teams that we've got to play, it's on the schedule, so we don't control that. The only thing we can control is whether we win or not."
With star point guard Rajon Rondo held out in the Celtics' second game in as many days, Jeff Green paced Boston with 27 points and Kris Humphries and Jerryd Bayless each finished with 15.
Both Anthony and his team were in top form right from the outset, as the All- Star forward dropped in a trio of 3-pointers in the game's first 3 1/2 minutes to highlight a 23-7 New York run to begin the contest. The Knicks made good on 8-of-11 field goal attempts during the early tear.
Anthony ended the opening quarter with 13 points and Hardaway dropped in 12 during the second as the Knicks expanded a 36-24 lead after one. The margin grew to 68-44 following five straight Hardaway points near the conclusion of the half, which ended with Green and Phil Pressey converting layups on consecutive Boston possessions.
"We got stops and we spread the court so well and when we are making shots, we are a tough team to beat," Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said. And we've been shooting these last five games; we've been shooting the hell out of the ball and our defense has been on par as well, so it's a good combination to have."
The Celtics were able to make some headway in the third quarter, with Green accounting for the final eight points of a 14-4 surge that cut the deficit to 74-63 just over four minutes into the second half. It was a nine-point game after Green buried a 3-pointer with 1:11 to go in the frame to bring Boston within 84-75.
New York pulled away in the fourth quarter, however, behind an offensive barrage that resulted in 31 points on 55 percent shooting. A Pablo Prigioni three to start the stanza was followed by two Hardaway free throws that gave the Knicks a comfortable 90-75 advantage.
"We did a lot of good things in the third quarter, and then I think that three [by Prigioni] to start the fourth took the wind out of our sails a little bit, unfortunately," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens remarked. "We never really could get it going after that again."
The Knicks finished 11-of-19 from beyond the arc, with Anthony going 4-of-7 on 3-point tries and Hardaway 3-for-5 ... Aldrich drew the start with Tyson Chandler missing a second straight game for personal reasons and the Knicks resting Amar'e Stoudemire (knees) ... New York recorded 20 assists against just eight turnovers.