The New York Knicks didn't come dressed in their funeral attire, but they were finally able to put the nail in the Boston Celtics' coffin on Friday night.
Despite facing a raucous crowd at TD Garden, the Knicks came away with a 88-80 victory that was filled with all the thrills fans came to expect from this series. New York was dominant for the first three quarters, suffocating Boston’s offense and taking a 67-47 lead into the final 12 minutes.
However, as they're wont to do, the Celtics would not go down without one last jaw-dropping fight. Boston outscored New York 33-21 in the fourth quarter, which included a 20-0 run that brought the Celtics within six points of the flailing Knicks.
Mike Woodson’s squad righted the ship just in time, as Carmelo Anthony scored a critical seven points in the final three-plus minutes to pull the game out of reach. Anthony tied Jeff Green for a game-high 21 points, but shot just 7-of-23 from the field as his problems in the half court continued.
Iman Shumpert also chipped in a critical 17 points, making six of his nine shots, including three from distance.
For Boston, Paul Pierce will likely want to forget this game as soon as possible. The Celtics forward shot 4-of-18 from the field and missed all but one of his nine three-point attempts en route to 14 points.
Boston will again walk into the offseason with questions about what next year’s roster will look like.
As for the Knicks? They move on to Round 2 to play the Indiana Pacers, who defeated the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night to advance.