January 13, 2016 / 4:28 AM / 3 years ago

Porzingis drives Knicks to gritty win over Celtics

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.

Jan 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) drives to the basket past Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

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

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