Notebook: Knicks 88, Celtics 80

Posted May 4, 2013 12:51 AM

By Brian Robb, for

THE FACTS: Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 21 points for the New York Knicks in Boston, as the visitors held off a furious fourth quarter rally by the Celtics to escape with an 88-80 victory Friday night.

With the win, New York advances to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, taking the series by a 4-2 margin. It's the first playoff series New York has won since the 1999-2000 season. Jeff Green had 21 points to lead the hosts, who fell short despite cutting a 26-point deficit to four in the closing moments in the fourth quarter.

QUOTABLE: "It's a major step for this organization, for our fans in New York who've been with us for many, many years. It's been a total team effort, but it's just one step. I'm looking at the big picture and I'm only in this for one thing and that's try to win an NBA title. We made a major step today."

-Knicks coach Mike Woodson

THE STAT: The Knicks forced 20 turnovers in Game 6 and a staggering 104 turnovers over the course of the six games by the Celtics. The consistent miscues kept Boston's offense struggling during each contest of the series.

TURNING POINT: After the Celtics came out of nowhere with a 24-2 run midway through the fourth quarter, which cut New York's lead to just four points, the Knicks managed to stop the bleeding thanks to Anthony. The small forward spearheaded the Knicks counter punch with an 8-0 outburst, effectively clinching the win for the visitors in the closing minutes of the game.

QUOTABLE II: "I told them after the game that I couldn't be more proud of a group of guys who went through a ton of adversity all year with all the injuries."

-Celtics coach Doc Rivers

HOT: Iman Shumpert -- the second-year guard provided the Knicks with a major boost in the second half, scoring 15 of his 17 points after intermission, including burying all three of his 3-point baskets. Shumpert also chipped in on the defensive end as well with four rebounds and a pair of steals.

NOT: Paul Pierce -- Boston's captain failed to find a rhythm from the opening tip in Game 6. He hit just 1 of his 10 shot attempts in the first half, and finished just 4-for-18 from the field overall.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Tyson Chandler -- New York's anchor in the middle began looking his old self in Game 6, after battling through injuries and rust over the first few games of the series. The center scored nine points, and had 12 rebounds, including nine pivotal offensive boards over 33 minutes of action.

QUOTABLE III: ""It's a small step, but it's a giant step, because as we know the history of the franchise, it's struggles. To get this and be able to put this behind us -- it's a tall task and we played against a great team that was battle-tested. On one hand it takes a little weight off. It's like you take a little breather. But it's short-lived. The fight starts back again."

- Tyson Chandler on the Knicks advancing to face the Pacers

QUOTABLE IV: "We need more. But the key is, for us, do you want to take away to get more? And that will be a decision that will be made later."

- Doc Rivers on the Celtics' offseason plans

ROOKIE WATCH: Pablo Prigioni -- New York's 35-year-old provided the Knicks with a crucial spark in the first quarter, as he hit a trio of 3-pointers in the frame. The outburst helped New York build an early double-digit edge which the Celtics were unable to recover from. Prigioni finished with 14 points, five rebounds and three assists over just 23 minutes.

QUOTABLE V: "It's a big relief for myself, for us as a team. It's something that city of New York has been looking forward to."

- Carmelo Anthony

NOTABLE: The Celtics scored just 10 points in the first quarter and 27 in the first half overall. ... Kevin Garnett had his fifth straight double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. When asked after the game, Garnett was non-committal about his future, saying he'd discuss his plans with Pierce and Rivers in the coming weeks before making any decisions about retirement. ... Anthony led all scorers, averaging 29.2 points per game this series. ... Raymond Felton was whistled for a technical foul in the third quarter after elbowing Garnett. ...The Celtics were just the 11th team in NBA history to force a Game 6 after falling behind in a series 3-0.

UP NEXT: For the Knicks, vs. Pacers, Game 1 of Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday May 5 (Time TBA).