The only Boston team to resume play away from home after the successful manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev played a gritty game and stayed within six points either way until New York’s Carmelo Anthony hit a tough jumper with 1:21 to play. The Celtics opened the NBA playoffs by taking their 14-27 road record into New York to play on a court on which the Knicks were 31-10.
The Celtics gritty defensive play throughout the first half seemed to tighten the Knicks and their crowd, as did the reality that the Knicks had only won one playoff game in the past 12 seasons. However, the Knicks stepped up the defense even more – holding Boston to an all-time low of 25 points in the second half.
The Knicks finally took over by turning steals into points after JR Smith drove to the hoop to give New York a 78-74 lead.
With 4:48 to go, Jason Kidd perfectly anticipated a pass by Jeff Green (26 points). Kidd stepped out to deflect the ball, went to the ground to get it, and then wrestled the ball away from Celtics players to start a break that ended with Raymond Felton being fouled at the other end and hitting one of two free throws to make it 79-74.
Smith then stole a pass from Avery Bradley with 4:01 to play, and Carmelo Anthony stole a pass from Paul Pierce and then scored at the other end to make it 81-76 with 2:31 to play.
Jason Kidd stole it from Green with 2:20 to play, and Anthony’s tough shot with Green all over him made it 83-76 with 1:21 to play for the first seven-point lead either team had.
Down the stretch, Kidd and Smith both had another steal to make it seven Knicks steals in the final five minutes of the 85-78 win.