Celtics 96, Knicks 86


What went wrong ...

1 Late collapse — Apparently Carmelo Anthony isn’t accustomed to this type of scrutiny because the suddenly maligned swingman came out on fire but cooled dramatically once the Celtics turned up the heat. Melo notched 22 points but only five after the half and went without a field goal in the final frame, as the Knicks dropped their third straight. Anthony initially played inspired and tough defense, holding Paul Pierce to eight points in the first half, but looked fatigued down the stretch.

2 Fourth and short — The Knicks are known for their up-tempo offense but last night featured the up-tempo collapse. Boston bullied its way to an impressive comeback, holding the Knicks to 35 points in the second half and finishing off the Knicks with a 16-4 run in the final 5:31. The fourth-quarter comeback was fueled by Pierce’s 13 points, including Boston’s only 3 in the waning moments to complete the victory.

3 Something good —Despite the collapse, the Knicks continued their strange ways of playing up to the level of competition by having another inspired performance against a team above .500 — well, at least inspired play for three quarters. They actually played the type of gritty defense that critics have skewered them for not playing against the lesser foes, as they came out and forced the Celtics into a rough shooting night for most of the game. Boston finished with 46 percent shooting but that number was boosted by a strong fourth quarter. The Celtics had been shooting 38 percent before a 19-point turnaround in the last seven minutes gave them their third win over the Knicks.