Beaten again in New York, Celtics ready to go home

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 23, 2013 at 11:26 pm •  Published: April 23, 2013
Advertisement
;

NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Garnett walked back to the bench, the Madison Square Garden crowd hounding him every step of the way.

Burdened by foul trouble, Garnett couldn't stay on the court, and the raucous Knicks fans couldn't hide their delight.

Garnett and the Celtics will finally be back in front of friendly faces on Friday night, and at this point, that's about all they have going for them.

Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points, Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith added 19, and New York opened a 2-0 lead over Boston with another dominant second half in an 87-71 victory on Tuesday night.

Paul Pierce scored 18 points for the Celtics, who will host Game 3 on Friday in their first home game since the Boston Marathon bombings.

They will have to be much sharper to avoid their first opening-round elimination since 2005, before they became one of the NBA's power teams again.

"We haven't been back home since the current events that happened, so I'm looking forward to going home and getting some of the home love," Garnett said. "So Boston, here we come."

Raymond Felton added 16 points for the Knicks, who used a 27-4 run spanning halftime to blow it open and move halfway to their first series victory since the 2000 Eastern Conference semifinals. This is their first 2-0 lead since sweeping Toronto in the first round that year.

"For us, we know what type of team we are," Anthony said. "We know when we really buckle down on the defensive end, it's been hard for teams."

It's been brutally difficult for Boston.

"We have to figure out the offensive side of the ball and not be so stagnated," Garnett said. "Figure out ways to score more often."

Garnett had 12 points and 11 rebounds, but was in quick foul trouble and spent too much time trudging back to the bench as fans jeered him.

Plagued by turnovers in Game 1, when they managed eight points in the decisive fourth quarter, the Celtics watched it all fall apart 12 minutes earlier this time. They managed only 23 points after halftime, two fewer than in their 85-78 loss Saturday.

"I thought we attacked them in the first half, but they hung in there," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "They didn't let us throw a knockout punch and I thought in the second half they turned that on us and they threw a knockout punch. Several."

Anthony followed his 36-point opener by making 8 of 13 shots in the second half to finish 11 of 24 for the game.

He had said the Knicks needed to treat the game as a "must-win," aware of the difficulty of winning in Boston on Friday with the emotional boost the Celtics will get from finally being home.

They showed that mentality after halftime, outscoring Boston 32-11 in the third quarter.

"I think guys know what's at stake. We don't have to talk about it," veteran forward Kenyon Martin said. "Guys know what it's about right now and it's about winning a championship."

Continue reading this story on the...