BOSTON, April 9 (Ticker) -- Jamal Crawford made sure another last-second shot was not needed.

Crawford scored 31 points and led a fourth-quarter surge as the New York Knicks rallied for a 101-86 victory over the Boston Celtics, whose fading playoff hopes took another hit.

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Rookie Nate Robinson added 12 points and Jackie Butler 10 for the Knicks (22-54), who have won three in a row for the first time since a season-high six-game run in early January.

In wins over Cleveland and Indiana last week, Crawford hit game-winning shots in the waning moments. On Sunday, he helped the Knicks rally from a 76-70 deficit after three quarters by scoring 11 points in the final period.

"I think it's great for the young guys because it helps them get better faster," Crawford said. "They play with so much energy I'm like the calming influence when I'm out there with them. The hustle and energy was the difference in the fourth quarter."

Crawford scored six points in an 18-3 surge that rookie David Lee capped with a basket at the 3:05 mark for a 97-82 lead.

"It fell apart," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "They attacked. I thought they were the aggressor and I thought we went back on our heels a little bit."

Paul Pierce scored 19 points - just one in the fourth quarter - and Tony Allen 18 for Boston (32-45), which fell 3 1/2 games behind Philadelphia and Chicago for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot with five contests left.

"It's difficult but at the same time we're looking at the long run," Pierce said. "It's good to get these young guys out there and get their valuable minutes, valuable experience because it's going to pay off in the long run."

In the fourth quarter, the Celtics scored just 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting and committed five of their 16 turnovers.

"We controlled the tempo and defended a little better," Knicks coach Larry Brown. "Probably the lowest quarter we've had in ages. It's fun to give the young people a chance at a time like that."