The Celtics beat the Knicks 90-86 last night in a back-and-forth battle. The C’s jumped out to an early 17-point lead in the second quarter thanks to 14 points by Courtney Lee off the bench to go along with 17 points from Jared Sullinger, who just flat-out embarrassed Andrea Bargnani down low. Carmelo Anthony was the Knicks’ only bright-spot in the first half as he recorded 20 points and brought New York to within six at halftime.
The Knicks came out hot in the second half as they were able to go up by 11 before the C’s stormed back in the fourth. Thanks to a couple late threes from Avery Bradley and a gutsy defensive effort from Jeff Green, who held Melo to 2-11 from the field in the second half and just 1-8 in the fourth quarter, Boston was able to reclaim the lead and walk away with a four-point victory,
Courtney Lee continues to be the Celtics’ most improved player this season. He dropped in 18 points and was 6-8 from the field and 3-3 from the three-point line. Lee is now shooting 50% from three in the first 25 games of the season after shooting just 37% last year.
Jared Sullinger was the Celtics’ leading scorer with 19 points on 6-9 shooting to go along with his six rebounds. Sullinger was also 7-7 from the free-throw line.
Brandon Bass contributed with 10 points and came just a couple rebounds shy of a double-double.
Jordan Crawford had his first bad game of the season. He was 0-8 from the field and scored just two points, although he did have a couple key assists down the stretch in the fourth quarter.
Kelly Olynyk was quiet but effective in his first game back from his ankle injury. In 14 minutes he recorded four points and four rebounds and came through with the play of the night with a monstrous block on Iman Shumpert.
Jeff Green scored just eight points but made up for it with his defense in the second half and a clutch and-one with nine seconds remaining in the game.
The Celtics’ fourth quarter comeback was sparked by a Vitor Faverani three. Faverani finished with seven points off the bench and although he only had four rebounds his all-out effort on the boards was clearly disruptive to the big men of the Knicks. It’s no wonder he was a +11 when he was on the floor.
J.R. Smith remains the most disappointing player in the NBA this season. Smith had just two points and waited until the fourth quarter to attempt his first and only shot, an ill-advised three pointer that clanked off the rim.
The Celtics improve to 11-14 on the season and remain in first place in the Atlantic while the Knicks find themselves in last place at 6-16.
The C’s will host Kevin Love and the 11-12 Timberwolves at the Garden on Monday. Tip-off at 7:30.