Kevin Garnett posted up for the go-ahead bucket and gathered the game-clinching steal in the closing seconds of regulation, leading the Boston Celtics to win 96-93 over the New York Knicks in Wednesday’s Eastern Conference Quarterfinal contest at the TD Garden. The C’s now hold a 2-0 advantage with Games 3 and 4 to be played in New York Friday, April 22nd and Sunday, April 24th. After Ray Allen hit the dagger to solidify their Game 1 victory, it was Garnett who stepped up this time around on both ends of the floor. “I wasn’t really in a nice rhythm,” said Garnett, who finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds. “I just remained calm, went to a shot I knew I could make.”
Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 42 points for New York but Boston’s Rajon Rondo was the one who controlled the tempo through all four quarters. Rondo scored 16 of his 30 points in transition, gaining seven assists and four rebounds along the way. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen contributed 20 and 18, respectively. The Knicks were able to keep it close without All-Star forward Amare Stoudemire (back spasms) and veteran PG Chauncey Billups (strained left knee). Both Stoudemire and Billups are expected to return to game-action Friday.
The sixth-seeded Knicks will have to win at least one of two in order to push the series back to Boston for Game 5. “The Celtics didn’t do anything special,” said Anthony. “They won two games on their home court. Now it’s our turn to go to our home court and try to do the same thing.” Despite Carmelo’s remarks, it’s hard to ignore New York’s inabilities to execute as the Celts continue to lock down on defense and convert down the stretch. Celtics vs. Knicks playoff tickets are now available!