Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 11/2

Game 1: Wednesday, November 2nd
Game 2: Sunday, December 4th
Game 3: Wednesday, March 29th
Game 4: Sunday, April 9th

Celtics 102

(7-9, 1-4 away)

Knicks 99

(5-11, 3-3 home)

Coverage: MSG

1:00 PM ET, December 4, 2005

Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

1 2 3 4 T
BOS 22 24 30 26102
NY 26 19 22 3299

Top Performers

Bos: P. Pierce 28 Pts, 9 Reb, 7 Ast, 5 Stl

NY: S. Marbury 35 Pts, 5 Reb, 9 Ast, 1 Stl

Curry a non-factor in return as Celtics top Knicks

NEW YORK (AP) -- Ricky Davis had seen this kind of thing before. Boston would build a big lead and then let the other team back into the game.

It almost never ended well for the Celtics.

On Sunday, Davis got a pleasant surprise.

Davis scored 27 points and made two free throws with 8.7 seconds left, then New York's Nate Robinson missed a long 3-pointer on the game's final play as the Celtics beat the Knicks 102-99.

"Usually when guys come back from a lead we kind of hang our heads," Davis said. "We just kept executing, kept getting defensive stops. That's what I liked about it."

The Celtics led by as many as 14 in the third quarter, but Channing Frye hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the period to cut Boston's advantage to 76-67. From there, the Knicks chipped away until they got within 99-98 with 21.4 seconds left.

Moments later, Boston reserve guard Dan Dickau scored his only points of the game by making two free throws. The Knicks got back within 100-99 on two free throws by Stephon Marbury's with 8.9 seconds left.

But Davis hit his two free throws and Robinson was unable to make a big buzzer-beater for the second straight week. Eight days ago, the rookie from Washington made a 3-pointer as time expired to give the Knicks a 105-102 overtime win against Philadelphia.

"Sometimes the ball goes in your favor, sometimes it don't," Robinson said.

It was a difficult way for New York to leave home in preparation for a three-game West Coast road trip that begins Tuesday in Seattle.

"It's tough," said Marbury, who led the Knicks with 35 points. "This is a game you want to get away with but unfortunately we didn't come up with a victory."

Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 28 points and nine rebounds in the latest in a string of strong performances. Over the last four games, Pierce is averaging 29.8 points and 11 rebounds.

Now the Celtics have some momentum heading into the last four games of a five-game road trip that began Sunday. They face Houston on Tuesday before visiting the New Orleans Hornets, San Antonio and Dallas.

"That was a great win for us, obviously," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "It was our first win going on a long road trip. We couldn't have asked for a better win."

Marbury scored 24 points in the first half. He was 17-of-21 from the free-throw line overall in a game where the Knicks went 35-for-46.

Frye set a career high with 25 points, the rookie's third straight game with at least 21.

Delonte West added 17 points for the Celtics.

New York center Eddy Curry was a non-factor in his first appearance after missing five games with a strained left calf. He had three points and one rebound in 13:51 of playing time.

The Knicks got a scare with 5:24 left in the third quarter, when West drove for a dunk. Jamal Crawford was trailing the play and collided under the basket with Marbury, who was coming over to help. Both players went down, and Crawford was helped from the court. He received 11 stitches to close a cut on his chin and didn't return until 44.1 seconds were left in the fourth quarter. Marbury stayed in the game. West was called for a technical for hanging on the rim.

Marbury was sporting a bump on his forehead after the game.

"I was a little woozy (after the collision)," Crawford said. "But other than that, I was all right."

New York struggled to maintain any offensive rhythm in the first half, but was able to get within 46-45 at the break by going 16-for-18 from the free-throw line, including an 8-for-9 performance by Marbury.

Game notes

Frye was announced as a starter for New York, but he was replaced before the tip-off by Antonio Davis. Frye entered the game with 5:42 left in the first quarter. ... Knicks coach Larry Brown said before the game that maybe a better rivalry would develop between the teams if they played more frequently. But he quickly added, "I also think it's important that both of the teams get better." ... New York center Jerome James said he had to get about 40 tickets to Tuesday night's game in Seattle for friends and family. James spent four seasons with the SuperSonics before signing a five-year, $30 million contract with the Knicks before this season. ... The Knicks wore throwback uniforms that were royal-blue with orange trim.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 102 99
FGM-FGA 36-84 (.429) 31-71 (.437)
3PM-3PA 3-13 (.231) 2-7 (.286)
FTM-FTA 27-33 (.818) 35-46 (.761)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-36 15-48
Assists 16 16
Turnovers 11 22
Steals 10 6
Blocks 5 2
Fast Break Points 3 2
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 32 (1/0) 28 (1/0)
Largest Lead 14 8

Top Performers

New York
Paul Pierce Pierce
Points: 28
Reb: 9
Ast: 7
Stl: 5
Blk: 0
Stephon Marbury Marbury
Points: 35
Reb: 5
Ast: 9
Stl: 1
Blk: 0