Boston Celtics win heated NBA clash over New York Knicks
The Boston Celtics won a heated first clash of the NBA season against the New York Knicks, taking a 102-96 victory at Madison Square Garden over their Atlantic Division rivals.
Boston’s win on Monday was a surprise, but only a minor one compared with a couple of boilovers elsewhere as Washington won only its fifth game of the season by beating NBA-leading Oklahoma City, while lowly New Orleans beat Southwest Division-leading San Antonio.
Boston’s Paul Pierce scored 23 points while Kevin Garnett added 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who even without the suspended Rajon Rondo won their third straight and finally are playing like the team that has ruled the division for the past half-decade.
The Knicks want that title now, but Carmelo Anthony and his teammates were reminded how tough the Celtics can make it.
Anthony had 20 points but shot six of 26 while battling his temper, Garnett and foul trouble. J.R. Smith led the Knicks with 24 points.
New Orleans’ Eric Gordon scored six straight points in a fourth-quarter spurt and had 24 overall to lead the Hornets to a 95-88 home win over San Antonio.
Anthony Davis added 17 points for the Hornets, who have won consecutive games for the first time in nine weeks.
Manu Ginobili scored 21 points to lead the Spurs, who had won eight of their previous nine, but committed 19 turnovers, gifting the hosts 23 points.
Oklahoma City was also to blame for its own shock defeat, as the Washington Wizards beat the Thunder 101-99. Bradley Beal made a jumper with 0.3 seconds left after using a pump fake to get open.
The Wizards’ win was made all the more surprising because it was in the absence of their two top scorers. They had lost 13 of their previous 14 but again showed they can rise to the occasion against big teams, as Miami found out earlier in the season.
Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with 29 points but the Thunder was left to rue 16 straight missed shots from midway through the third quarter to midway through the fourth.
The Memphis Grizzlies was one top team that stood up, winning 113-81 at the Sacramento Kings to move within two and a half games of the Spurs in the Southwest.
Wayne Ellington scored a season-high 26 points, hitting six three-pointers, while Zach Randolph scored 17 points and had seven rebounds for the Grizzlies, who outscored the Kings 36-20 in the third quarter to blow the game open.
John Salmons led the Kings with 17 points.
The Utah Jazz beat the Dallas Mavericks 100-94, with Gordon Hayward scoring a season-high 27 points, including four three-pointers.
Alec Burks added a season-high 13, including eight in the fourth quarter when Utah held Dallas to 14 points on five-of-16 shooting.
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 20 points. He had six straight late, but was also called for a charge with 32 seconds remaining as he tried to get Dallas within two.
The Orlando Magic fell to their ninth straight loss, beaten 125-119 in overtime by the Portland Trail Blazers.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and 10 rebounds and Wesley Matthews finished with 24 points, including a dunk that all but sealed it with less than a minute to go in overtime.
J.J. Redick led the Magic with 29 points.
Also on Monday, the Chicago Bulls routed the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-92, with Carlos Boozer passing the 20-point mark for the third straight game, finishing with 24 points and 11 rebounds.