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