BOSTON (AP) — Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points and won his rematch with Kevin Garnett as the New York Knicks ended an 11-game losing streak in Boston with an 89-86 victory over the Celtics on Thursday night.
It came 17 days after a verbal clash between the All-Star forwards following Boston’s 102-96 victory in New York led to Anthony’s one-game suspension.
Anthony was booed frequently Thursday but there was no sign of hostility with Garnett. At one point, Anthony even extended his hand to a fallen Garnett and helped the Celtic to his feet.
Rajon Rondo led the Celtics with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, his fourth triple-double of the season. Paul Pierce added 22 points. Garnett had only eight points but finished with a game-high 12 rebounds as Boston lost its fifth straight game.
There were 17 lead changes in the game but none in the fourth quarter.
In the first half, Anthony was booed nearly every time he touched the ball and cheered when he was called for fouls as fans reacted to the last meeting between the star forwards. One of the biggest cheers came when Garnett blocked Anthony’s layup attempt with 3:15 left in the second quarter.
Garnett and Anthony had jawed with each other during the teams’ previous matchup. After that game, Anthony walked toward the Celtics locker room before security personnel stepped in and sent him back toward the Knicks’ room.
Comcast SportsNet New England posted a video on its website showing Anthony waiting near Boston’s team bus after the game, with coach Mike Woodson and New York City police nearby.
The NBA suspended Anthony for the next game, an 81-76 loss at Indiana.
On Thursday, the Celtics took their last lead, 66-65, on a 3-pointer by Jeff Green with 2:22 left in the third quarter. Then Tyson Chandler put the Knicks ahead with a three-point play and they scored the last seven points of the period, taking a 72-66 lead.
They increased that to 84-76 before the Celtics cut it to two on a basket by Garnett and two by Rondo. Amare Stoudemire’s tip made it 86-82 with 3:24 left before Rondo sank two free throws and J.R. Smith hit a 3-pointer. Rondo cut the lead to 89-86 with a field goal with 40 seconds to go and Jason Kidd missed a 3-pointer for the Knicks with 14 seconds remaining.
But Boston’s last chance ended when Pierce lost the ball out of bounds as he was receiving a pass with 7.1 seconds left.
Anthony scored at least 20 points for the 27th straight game, third most in franchise history behind Richie Guerin’s 29 and Patrick Ewing’s 28.
The Knicks led 50-48 at halftime but trailed 60-59 with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter. Then they outscored the Celtics 13-6, with Anthony scoring six points.