AP Photo/Charles Krupa
THE NITTY GRITTY
Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 28 points on 11-of-28 shooting to go along with 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals over 41 minutes. Amar'e Stoudemire added 15 points and nine rebounds off the bench, while J.R. Smith -- ice-cold for much of the night -- hit a monster 3-pointer with 1:11 to go as New York secured its first win in Boston since 2006 (snapping an 11-game losing streak). Rajon Rondo produced the 27th career triple-double of his career, registering 23 points (on 10-of-19 shooting) with 11 assists and 10 rebounds over 40:24. It was Rondo's fourth triple-double of the season and his 20th in a nationally televised game. Paul Pierce scored a season-high 19 points in the first half, but finished with 22 overall. The Celtics had no other scorer in double figures as Kevin Garnett finished with eight points and 12 rebounds in 36 minutes.
The Celtics trailed by as many as 10 points early in the fourth quarter, but leaned on their defense to chip away at the lead. Rondo took over and -- after feeding Avery Bradley and Garnett for layups -- produced consecutive buckets to make it 84-82 with less than four minutes to play. Bradley missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer and Garnett missed a short jumper with a chance to tie it soon after. Smith, who had missed 13 of his previous 15 shots, made it sting when he drilled a 3-pointer from the right wing to put the Knicks out front 89-84 with 71 seconds to play. Boston got back within three, only to turn the ball over with a final chance to tie the game.
A MELO OLIVE BRANCH?
After Garnett spilled to the floor trying to complete a third-quarter alley-oop, it was Anthony -- of all people -- who offered a hand to help pick him up. After all the hoopla in New York, the two played nice on Thursday and Garnett actually got under the skin of Tyson Chandler more than Anthony on this night.
A NO CHEERIOS ZONE
On the heels of the KG-Melo circus in New York, TD Garden did its best to limit the Honey Nut Cheerios references in the crowd, removing posters and T-shirts depicting the breakfast cereal. One fan held up a "Honey Nut Carmelos" T-shirt on the JumboTron and was promptly told to keep it out of sight or be removed from the game. Anytime a reference to the cereal appeared on the JumboTron, the camera quickly panned away. Clearly the arena staff was trying its best to prevent any carryover this time around.
MORE GARDEN CHATTER
And if the Cheerios crackdown wasn't enough, the Celtics bizarrely responded to a comment made on TNT's national broadcast suggesting the arena piped in fake noise. The Celtics tweeted: "Regarding comments on tonight's @NBAonTNT broadcast, the @Celtics have never used artificial crowd noise."
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (20-22) have now dropped a season-high five straight games to fall two games under .500 and seven games back of the Knicks in the Atlantic Division. Boston yet again endured some maddening offensive lulls, essentially spoiling the solid defensive effort (the Knicks shot 38.6 percent overall and a mere 28.6 percent beyond the 3-point arc). Alas, Boston shot only 40.8 percent and really struggled to consistently put points on the board. The Celtics fly to Atlanta after the game for the second night of a back-to-back on Friday against the Hawks. Boston is back at TD Garden on a Sunday for a matinee against the rival Miami Heat in Ray Allen's first game back in Boston.