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NYK 120, BOS 114: Knicks Overcome Adversity For Divisional Win

Winners of five of their last seven games, the Knicks faced an important test against division-rival Boston, the second-best defensive team in the NBA. Losing Carmelo Anthony to injury and Kristaps Porzingis to foul trouble only added difficulty.

Adversity mounted, but Derek Fisher's club answered with big plays, bringing The Garden to life with an impressive 120-114 victory to improve to 20-20 on the season.

Porzingis and Anthony had combined for 37 points in the first half, staking the Knicks to a 10-point lead. But Anthony (17 points in 17 minutes) would roll his ankle right before halftime, returning to play just 19 seconds to start the third quarter before leaving for good. Less than three minutes later, Porzingis would pick up his fourth foul, sending the rookie to the bench with 22 points.  

Isaiah Thomas was fueling Boston's comeback effort with 16 of his 34 points in the third quarter, and Fisher needed someone to step up. That's when Arron Afflalo began to assert himself, scoring 10 points in each of the final two quarters with an array of tough moves in and around the paint.

After beating the third-quarter buzzer with a difficult stepback jumper along the baseline to give the Knicks an 85-81 advantage, Jerian Grant stayed hot. The rookie would play the entire final period, finishing 5 of 6 from the field for a season-high 16 points. Against Boston's top-level ball pressure, he'd dish out eight assists without committing a turnover.

Porzingis (26 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks) re-entered the game with five fouls and 4 minutes left, promptly hitting a difficult jumper along the baseline, before fouling out with 2 minutes and 44 seconds to play.

Jared Sullinger kept the Celtics alive with 12 points in the fourth, but New York had an answer for every play. Robin Lopez had his typical mix of hooks and putbacks, scoring 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Derrick Williams (15 points, 10 boards) led the team in rebounding and delivered two monster dunks in the final minutes to help seal the victory.