Apr. 17, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) dribbles the ball around Boston Celtics small forward Sasha Pavlovic (11) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Knicks won 118-110. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
Carmelo Anthony and Paul Pierce had a battle for the ages as the Knicks beat the Celtics at Madison Square Garden.
Do you like three-pointers? Of course you do. Unless you don't, you probably would have enjoyed Tuesday night's mind-blowing shootout between the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics. The teams' respective star scorers, Carmelo Anthony and Paul Pierce, shot the lights out, but that wasn't the end of it. Their teammates went bananas as well, and the two teams ended up combining for 30-53 (57 percent) shooting from downtown. Ultimately, the Knicks' shooting was crazier, and thus they won, 118-110. That's just how this game was.
The Celtics got going first, bolting out to a 9-2 lead behind some hot perimeter shooting from Pierce and company (again, this will be a theme). The Knicks caught up, though, because Anthony found his touch as well. Melo had 10 points in a first quarter that, in its final few minutes, offered a quick preview of what was to come. J.R. Smith hit a pair of threes off Anthony's kick-outs, Iman Shumpert sank another, and that started the ball rolling.
That ball kept rolling into the second quarter, and then it exploded. Even while Anthony was off the floor and not around to draw double teams, the Knicks went wild from the perimeter. Smith couldn't miss. Steve Novak couldn't miss. Anthony couldn't miss. Mike Bibby hit a three. As a team, New York drilled 11 three-pointers in the second quarter alone. Smith had an absurd seven of them in the half. The Knicks led by 19 at the break.
Boston chipped its way back into it in the second half. The New York offense fell off a bit and Pierce continued to thrive, earning repeated trips to the foul line and drilling one jumper after the next. Boston cut the deficit down to 12 points by the end of the third quarter, and appeared poised to make its usual heartbreaking run in front of the Madison Square Garden crowd.
The Knicks struck back, though. Anthony began to heat up anew and, when doubled, dished out to Novak, who drilled huge consecutive threes to put New York back up double digits and drive Doc Rivers to throw in the towel and empty his bench.
All told, the game produced some preposterous stat lines. For the Celtics, Pierce had 43 points on 11-19 shooting from the field and 17-18 at the line. Avery Bradley, second on the team in scoring with 17 points, hit five of six three-pointers. For the Knicks, Anthony registered his second career triple-double with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Smith shot 7-10 from downtown and Novak 8-10. New York's bench outscored Boston's 55-2. None of the above things are normal. It was that kind of night.
Boston squandered a chance to lock up the Atlantic Divison crown with the loss, as the Knicks remained within three and a half games of them. Boston currently sits in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while New York edged ahead of Philadelphia to stand alone in seventh place.
For all of Tuesday's NBA box scores, check out SI.com's NBA scoreboard.