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March 26. 2013 11:45PM

Smith, Anthony lift Knicks past Celts

BOSTON - J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony and the undermanned New York Knicks were just too much for the more-undermanned Boston Celtics Tuesday night.

Smith and Anthony combined for 61 points and the Knicks, playing without Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire, cruised to their fifth straight win, a 100-85 handling of the Celtics, who were missing Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Courtney Lee and others.

The loss was the fifth in a row for the Celtics, who fell to 36-34, while the Knicks pulled into a virtual tie with the Indiana Pacers for second place in the Eastern Conference.

Smith scored 21 of his 32 points in the first half and finished with seven rebounds and three steals. Anthony, who took 30 shots, had 29 points, eight rebounds and three steals.

The Knicks killed the Celtics on the offensive glass, running up a 29-6 advantage in second-chance points.

Jeff Green led the Celtics with 19 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Paul Pierce, normally a Knick killer (23.5 per game against New York for his career coming in), scored 16 points but wasn't effective.

Kenyon Martin, enjoying a rebirth since signing with the Knicks, had nine points and five rebounds.

Neither team scored until Anthony broke the ice 2:42 into the game. The Knicks went on to total 58 points in the half, 39 of them by Anthony and Smith. The Knicks led by four at the end of the first quarter and Jason Terry came off the bench to score seven straight Boston points at the start of the second.

The game was tied 35-35 when the Knicks ran off 14 points in a 2:45 span, a run started and ended by a Steve Novak 3-pointers. The Celtics cut into the 14-point deficit, but Anthony converted his own follow for an old-fashioned 3-pointer with 17.6 seconds left in the half, restoring the 14-point New York lead.

The Celtics were guilty of 20 turnovers, while the Knicks coughed it up only eight times.

NOTES: Lee was out early taking jump shots but was a scratch, with Jordan Crawford making his first Celtics start. "(Lee) just didn't improve much," said Boston coach Doc Rivers. "You pretty much prepare for everything, just like (New York coach Mike Woodson does) over there. They've had the same stuff, so just a lot of injuries right now for us and for them." As far as Crawford starting, Rivers said that was Terry's idea. "He really does not like to start," the coach said. "He likes coming off the bench." ... Adding up the stats of the five players missing because of injuries, the Celtics were missing 47.6 points, 19.5 rebounds and 19.8 assists per game. That counts Leandro Barbosa, who was lost for the season to a knee injury and was dealt to Washington in the Crawford deal. ... Chandler didn't take part in the morning shootaround but there was still a question about him for the game. He didn't go, missing his seventh straight game. ... The Knicks host Memphis tonight, while the Celtics travel to Cleveland. ... The Knicks beat the Celtics on their first visit Jan. 24, but Boston won in New York Jan. 7. The teams meet at Madison Square Garden Sunday night.


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