MANILA, Philippines – Carmelo Anthony tallied his second career triple-double, and the New York Knicks held off a late-game rally by the visiting Boston Celtics to win 118-110 at the Madison Square Garden.
Anthony had 35 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, while Steve Novak (25 points) and JR Smith (25 points) both had strong games coming off the New York bench.
|New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony (C) drives past Boston Celtics' Brandon Bass (L) and Paul Pierce in the fourth quarter during their NBA basketball game in New York April 17, 2012. Photo by Mike Segar, Reuters.
"I been missing it throughout my whole career,"Anthony said of his triple-double. "But tonight coming in a game like this, it wasn't me. It was Novak and JR and them guys making their shots."
"If they wouldn't have made the shots, then I wouldn't have had the triple double."
"Melo, I think, now is settling in. He's playing like we all thought he could play," Knicks coach Mike Woodson told NBA.com. "It's beautiful to watch him play because he’s doing a lot of things on both sides of the floor."
"He's making players around him better, and it's helping us win and that's what good players do," he added.
Both teams had strong offensive performances, with the Celtics shooting 54.5% from the field and the Knicks making 56.8% of their shots.
The Knicks and the Celtics were also on fire from beyond the arc, collectively making 30 of their 53 three-point attempts.
New York took control of the game for good in the second quarter, when they made an astonishing 11 of 15 attempts from beyond the arc. The Knicks outscored the Celtics 40-27 in the second period.
The Celtics were able to rally in the final quarter, with two free throws from Paul Pierce cutting the Knicks' lead to six points, 106-112, with 3:07 remaining.
But Novak drained back-to-back three-pointers, both coming off assists from Anthony, and the Knicks were able to hold on for the win.
Led by Novak and Smith, the New York reserves completely dominated their Boston counterparts, outscoring them 55-2.
"Our bench was great tonight. Novak and JR, them guys combined for 50 points off the bench. When they got hot like that, it's hard to deal with," Anthony said.
The Celtics failed to wrap up the Atlantic Division title because of the loss, while the Knicks improved their chances of making the postseason.
New York is currently sitting at seventh place, one game ahead of Philadelphia.
All Celtics starters scored in double figures, led by Pierce who had 43 points. Rajon Rondo had 13 points and 13 assists.
Pistons embarrass Cavs; Pacers win
The Detroit Pistons completely manhandled the undermanned Cleveland Cavaliers, 116-77, while the Indiana Pacers rolled to their sixth straight victory by beating the Philadelphia 76ers, 102-97.
Detroit rookie Brandon Knight led the way with a career high 28 points on top of seven assists, and the Pistons led by as much as 50 points, 100-50, against the Cavs.
"Sometimes, there are just crazy nights like that. Everything you shoot goes in," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. "For them, everything they shoot doesn't. We've all been there."
Five other Pistons scored in double figures, including Greg Monroe who had a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds. The Pistons finished the game shooting 60% from the field.
"We want to continue to look at what we did well tonight and make sure it translates over to tomorrow, when we play a playoff team," Knight said.
Meanwhile, the Pacers won their sixth straight game and strengthened their hold on the third spot in the Eastern Conference with a win over the reeling Sixers.
Danny Granger led all scorers with 24 points bolstered by a six-of-eight clip from beyond the arc. Roy Hibbert had a double-double with 15 points and 13 boards.
The Sixers dropped their third game in a row. They are just 1.5 games ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks for the last playoff spot in the East.