Rapid Reaction: Celtics 90, Knicks 86
BOSTON -- Rapid reaction after the Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 90-86 on Friday night at TD Garden:
THE NITTY GRITTY
Each team owned a double-digit lead at one point, but the Celtics rallied from 11 down in the fourth quarter and Avery Bradley's go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:38 to play helped Boston emerge. Jared Sullinger scored a team-high 19 points (though the team rode rookie Vitor Faverani as its center down the stretch). Courtney Lee scored 18 points off the Boston bench, while Bradley finished with 13 points and five rebounds and cranked up the defensive intensity in the final frame. Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 26 points, while Andrea Bargnani added 22 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists to pace the Knicks.
TURNING POINT I: C'S FIRST-HALF RUN
The Celtics tried to turn this into another laugher with a bench-propelled 14-0 burst early in the second quarter. What had been a one-possession game saw Boston live at the free throw line while opening a game-high 17-point lead. Sullinger -- running with four reserves -- scored half of Boston's points on the surge. New York went more than five minutes overall without a field goal, missing nine straight shots during the drought.
TURNING POINT II: KNICKS RALLY AHEAD
The Celtics were still up 13 with 2:18 to play in the first half, but New York trimmed that lead to six before the intermission. Less than five minutes into the second half, the game was tied and the Knicks soon surged ahead by as many as seven after a couple Bargnani jumpers put the visitors out front 69-62. New York would lead by as many as 11 points, but ...
TURNING POINT III: BRADLEY PUTS BOSTON AHEAD
Bradley's 3-pointer from the right wing gave Boston its first lead of the fourth quarter with 2:38 to play. Vitor Faverani added a layup off a feed from Jordan Crawford and the Celtics' defense made it stand up.
After missing 10 games with a sprained right ankle, Celtics rookie Kelly Olynyk returned to game action on Friday night. The rookie big man made his only shot while chipping in four points, four rebounds and a block over 14:19.
Lee gave Boston a first-half spark, scoring 14 over the first two quarters (making all four shots he took, including three triples in that span). He finished with 18 points in 19 minutes of action. ... Phil Pressey gave Boston some second-half energy reflected in his team-best plus-16 in plus/minus overall. ... Kris Humphries missed his second straight game with a sore right knee. ... Keith Bogans and MarShon Brooks were healthy DNPs. ... Kenyon Martin suffered an abdominal muscle strain in the fourth quarter and did not return.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics snap a two-game losing streak while moving to 11-14 on the season. Boston gets the weekend off from game action with this five-game homestand continuing next week with visits from Minnesota (Monday), Detroit (Wednesday) and Washington (Saturday).
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