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 Pierce leads Celts past Knicks

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PostSubject: Pierce leads Celts past Knicks   Sat Feb 07, 2009 6:45 pm

NEW YORK(AP) First it was Kobe, and then King
James lit up Madison Square Garden. And at the end of one difficult
week the New York Knicks were hurt by a cold hard truth and an All-Star
guard who truly does have game.Paul Pierce scored 26 points, Ray
Allen finished with 22 and the Boston Celtics won 110-100 Friday night
to put a fitting end to one grueling stretch for New York.Kevin
Garnett also had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Boston, which rebounded
from its 110-109 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday
night. The Celtics won the season series against New York 3-1 and have
won nine of the last 10 in the rivalry."It was a big win,'' said
Pierce, nicknamed "The Truth'' for his considerable all-around game.
"For one, I thought we were mentally and physically drained coming into
this game, especially after the tough loss. It took us a while. We got
off to a slow start but this team continues to find ways to win.''Al
Harrington scored 27 points and David Lee had 18 points and 18 rebounds
for New York, which absorbed its third straight loss against one of the
NBA's elite teams."They're world champions and we're not and
we're trying to get to be really good and I thought for a long time we
played really well,'' Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Our defense was
good, I thought our energy was there.''Allen, who starred in the
movie "He Got Game,'' took over in the fourth quarter of the
back-and-forth contest. After Danilo Gallinari scored to give New York
an 80-79 lead, Allen scored Boston's next 11 points. His drive with
about 6 minutes left put Boston in front 90-86."I really thought that stretch where Ray got it going got us out,'' coach Doc Rivers said. "That was huge for us.''Eddie
House added a jumper and a 3-pointer from the corner to extend the
Celtics' lead to nine with 4:05 to go. Chris Duhon responded with a
three-point play for New York, but Garnett found Leon Powe inside for a
dunk and Pierce hit a long jumper to make it 99-89 with 3:11 remaining."They
know how to close out games down the stretch,'' Duhon said. "They
execute perfectly offensively and defensively and that's something that
we have to get to.''It was an appropriate finale for a difficult
week for the Knicks, who lost to three of the NBA's best teams and
surrendered a couple of the greatest performances in Madison Square
Garden history over a matter of days. Kobe Bryant scored 61 points in
the Los Angeles Lakers' 126-117 victory Monday, and LeBron James had 52
points, 11 assists and nine rebounds to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to
a 107-102 win Wednesday.The Knicks' "Dream Week'' wasn't exactly
a nightmare considering the competition, but it definitely was a
restless couple of nights."We knew this was going to be a tough
week,'' Lee said. "I would have loved to get two victories out of it,
but unfortunately we didn't.''Powe had 13 points and Rajon Rondo
added 12 for the Celtics, who made nine of their first 12 shots in
their 38-point fourth quarter - including 4-for-5 from 3-point range.
Boston has won seven straight on the road and 13 of 14 overall."That's
the great thing about this game,'' Allen said. "When you go through
such an emotional roller coaster one night, then you come back the next
night, you're just playing the game. We knew they were sitting home
waiting for us. It was important that we came out and played.''Kendrick
Perkins' layup put Boston ahead 62-60 in the third, but Nate Robinson
had a four-point play and Wilson Chandler had a terrific driving dunk
to give the Knicks a four-point lead with 3 minutes left in the quarter.Lee had 10 points in the third as New York carried a 76-72 lead into the final period.Duhon had 15 points and seven assists, and Robinson finished with 13 points.Notes:
Pierce seemed to be favoring his right arm when he went to the sideline
late in the first quarter. But the All-Star forward re-entered with
9:05 left in the second and appeared to be fine. ... New York Jets
coach Rex Ryan got a rousing ovation when he was shown on the overhead
video screen in the first half. ... Boston's matchup with the Lakers on
Thursday night drew the highest rating on TNT since a 1996 game
featuring Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson during the height of the
Chicago Bulls' dynasty. The NBA finals rematch delivered a 2.7 U.S.
rating and was watched by more than 4.3 million viewers.

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