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Friday, Dec. 17, 2010

MSG rocks as Celtics top Knicks

NEW YORK (AP) Paul Pierce thought it was good. So did the fans who roared in celebration at what appeared to be the victory that would punctuate the New York Knicks' return to relevance.

News photo
Barn burner: New York's Amare Stoudemire looks to pass while defended by Boston's Kevin Garnett in the first half on Wednesday. The Celtics beat the Knicks 118-116. AP PHOTO

Ray Allen knew otherwise, and so did the referees.

Amare Stoudemire's 3-pointer came just after the final buzzer, giving the Boston Celtics a thrilling 118-116 victory Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden and their 11th straight win.

"It was great basketball. It was a great Eastside barnyard knockdown, backyard scuffle, if you will," Boston's Kevin Garnett said. "Good basketball, though."

Pierce made a tiebreaking jumper with 0.4 seconds left to win it. The Knicks' eight-game winning streak is over, but a dormant rivalry might be back.

"We definitely earned our respect," Stoudemire said. "I guarantee you right now Boston respects us. We're no slouch. We're ready to play every night. Boston knows it."

Pierce's late jumper proved to be enough for the Celtics after a video replay of Stoudemire's shot showed the ball was clearly still in his hands as time expired.

"The Knicks are playing great basketball, can't take anything away from them, and I actually thought Amare's shot counted," Pierce said. "I would have been stunned there for a minute, especially after all the theatrics, so I'm glad we got the win."

Pierce scored 32 points for the Celtics, who trailed most of the night before running their record to 20-4, best in the Eastern Conference.

Stoudemire tied a season high with 39 points, extending his franchise-record streak to nine straight 30-point games.

Allen scored 26 points and Garnett had 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Celtics, enjoying their fifth winning streak of 10 games or more since their Big Three came together before the 2007-08 season.

Raymond Felton had 26 points and 14 assists, Danilo Gallinari scored 20 points and Wilson Chandler had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks, who lost for just the second time in their last 15 games.

With Shaquille O'Neal and Jermaine O'Neal both on the bench with injuries, the Celtics used Turkish rookie Semih Erden and then Glen "Big Baby" Davis on Stoudemire, and neither could contain him. Stoudemire was 7 of 10 for 17 points in the first quarter, Chandler scored 10, and the Knicks led 32-24.

Heat 101, Cavaliers 95

In Miami, Dwyane Wade scored 17 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, LeBron James added 21 points and a season-high 13 rebounds, and the Heat held off Cleveland for their 10th straight victory.

Lakers 109, Pacers 94

In Indianapolis, Kobe Bryant scored 25 of his 31 points in the second half to help Los Angeles beat Indiana.

Bulls 110, Raptors 93

In Toronto, Carlos Boozer had a season-high 34 points and 12 rebounds, and Chicago won its seventh straight game.

Mavericks 103, Blazers 98

In Dallas, Caron Butler matched his season high with 23 points, Dirk Nowitzki scored 12 of his 21 in the fourth quarter and the Mavericks got back on track with a victory over Portland.

76ers 105, Clippers 91

In Philadelphia, Jrue Holiday scored 24 points and Andre Iguodala had eight of his 20 points in the 76ers' dominating third quarter.

Blake Griffin had 20 points and 18 rebounds, matching his career high, to pace the Clippers.

Grizzlies 113, Bobcats 80

In Memphis, O.J. Mayo scored 24 points, Rudy Gay had 23 and the Grizzlies jumped to an early lead and routed Charlotte.

Hornets 94, Kings 91

In New Orleans, Chris Paul had 22 points and 11 assists, and the Hornets completed a franchise-record 23-point comeback to beat Sacramento.

Thunder 117, Rockets 105

In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant scored 32 points, Thabo Sefolosha added a season-high 15 points and nine rebounds and the Thunder beat Houston for their fourth straight win.

Spurs 92, Bucks 90

In San Antonio, Manu Ginobili hit a fadeaway jumper as time expired, lifting the Spurs over Milwaukee.

Suns 128, T-Wolves 122

In Phoenix, Channing Frye hit seven of the Suns' 15 3-pointers, Steve Nash had 19 assists and Phoenix outlasted Minnesota.

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