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NBA -- Smith cools off but Knicks still handle Celtics


PhilBoxing.com


NEW YORK -- After lighting up for 104 points in his previous three games, J.R. Smith cooled off significantly and managed just 15 points on 4-of-12 shooting when the New York Knicks hosted the Boston Celtics Sunday night at the Madison Square Garden.

But with five of his teammates each scoring in double figures, the streaking Knicks had little trouble fending off the banged up Boston Celtics, 108-89. It was New York's eighth straight triumph, the longest current streak in the NBA, while Boston lost for the sixth time in 10 games and fell to 38-35 in the overall standings.


The Knicks got 24 points and 10 rebounds from Carmelo Anthony while Raymond Felton added 18 and four assists. Chris Copeland finished with 22 points while Chirs Novak and Iman Shumpert chipped in 10 apiece. New York made only 35 of 72 field goals and bombarded the Celtics with 14 triples, 11 of which came in the opening half.

"Every game we play now is important in terms of us staying at the top of our division and trying to secure that second spot if we can, and I think the guys know that," Knicks head coach Mike Woodson told NBA.com. The 46-26 Knicks are trying to hold off the 47-27 Indiana Pacers for the No.2 spot in the Eastern Conference behind the 58-15 Miami Heat.

Already without Rajon Rondo (torn ACL), the Celtics invaded New York minus 14-time All-Star Kevin Garnett (left ankle inflammation). With their Big Three reduced to one -- Paul Pierce -- the Celtics failed to break 90 and they converted only 7-of-25 threes and 32 of 74 field goals overall.

Starting in place of the ailing Garnett, Jeff Green pumped 27 points while Pierce had 24 and 15 rebounds for the Celtics, who got shelled by 37 points in the second quarter and trailed by as many as 24 points. (RYS)


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