J.R. Smith scored 32 points, Carmelo Anthony added 29 and the New York Knicks beat the Celtics 100-85 in Boston for their fifth victory in a row.
BOSTON — The New York Knicks are winning no matter who they play. Somehow, beating Boston feels special.
“Let’s just be quite frank about them,” Carmelo Anthony said after the Knicks cruised to a 100-85 victory over the Celtics on Tuesday night. “We always want to beat Boston. New York in anything wants to beat Boston and when we do, it’s a great feeling.”
J.R. Smith came off the bench to score 32 points, Anthony added 29 and the Knicks extended their winning streak to five games while handing the Celtics their fifth straight loss.
The victory moved the Knicks into second place in the Eastern Conference, behind Miami and percentage points ahead of the Indiana Pacers. The Celtics, who could face the Knicks in the first round of the playoffs, remained in seventh and dropped to 0-2 at home against New York despite being 24-9 there against the rest of the league.
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“It’s tough for a lot of teams to come here and win (but) we’re playing for something,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “They’re playing for something, too, and they’re a little beat up, like we are. And I just thought tonight our defense set the tone early and it was a nice flow for 48 minutes.”
Neither team led by more than four points in the early going and the score was tied 35-35 early in the second quarter. The Knicks then scored the next 14, led 58-44 at halftime and remained comfortably ahead.
The Celtics, playing their second straight game without center-forward Kevin Garnett, were led by ex-Sonic Jeff Green with 19 points and Paul Pierce with 16. But they committed 20 turnovers, while the Knicks, who average the fewest turnovers in the league, had eight.
Garnett might miss about two weeks with inflammation in his left ankle. Starting guard Courtney Lee sat out his second consecutive game with a sprained left ankle. Starters Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger already are sidelined for the season.
“Kevin’s not playing. I don’t worry about it,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “Overall, we were pretty bad tonight. Kevin had nothing to do with that.”
• Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 33 points, including the first eight in overtime, and Dallas beat one of the top four teams in the Western Conference for the first time this season with a 109-102 victory against the visiting Los Angeles Clippers.
Dallas is a game behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the final playoff spot in the West with 11 games left.
The Mavericks have won nine of their last 12.
Chris Paul led the Clippers with 33 points.
• Nikola Pekovic contributed 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead Minnesota past host Detroit 105-82. The Pistons have lost seven home games in a row. Minnesota had lost 10 of its previous 11 road games.