Porzingis drives Knicks to gritty win over Celtics

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 12, 2016 11:26 PM

NEW YORK (The Sports Xchange) - Rookie forward Kristaps Porzingis poured in 26 points to lead the New York Knicks to a gritty 120-114 win over the Boston Celtics Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

The Knicks (20-20) won for the fifth time in their last seven games despite the loss of Carmelo Anthony, their leading scorer, who left the game with a sprained right ankle after a collision late in the first half with a referee.

The veteran small forward was having a good offensive night, finishing with 17 points, four rebounds and three assists in almost 18 minutes.

Shooting guard Arron Afflalo contributed 24 points and back-up point guard Jerian Grant added 16 points for the Knicks.

Boston (19-19) was led by guard Isaiah Thomas' 34 points. He was 11 of 12 from the line.

A free throw from forward Jae Crowder gave Boston a 107-106 edge with 2:44 to play before the Knicks outscored the Celtics 14-7 the rest of the way.

A traditional three-point play from Boston forward Jared Sullinger cut the Knicks lead to 99-97 with 5:11 remaining, but the Knicks reeled off seven straight points to push their lead to 106-97 with 3:38 left.

A short jumper from Sullinger drew the Celtics even at 88-88 with 9:45 to play. Boston had trailed by as many as eight points early in the third quarter.

The Celtics took advantage of Anthony's absence, outscoring the Knicks 32-26 in the third, to pull within 85-81 heading into the final quarter.

Anthony tumbled to the floor after stepping on an official's foot running up court late in the second quarter. He left the game with 1:16 left in the half and the Knicks leading 57-45.

Anthony returned for the second half with his right ankle taped, but returned to the locker room after just 20 seconds when he wasn't able to make a quick cut.

Porzingis and Anthony combined for 28 points in the first quarter, helping the Knicks to a 37-26 lead. Porzingis was six of eight from the floor for 16 points and Anthony was five of six for 12 points.

(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)