The Celtics played in Boston for the first time since the marathon bombings, giving fans a chance to cheer first responders. However, the Knicks left them little to cheer once the game started. Carmelo Anthony helped make the case that the Knicks are the only team that can challenge the Heat this year as the Knicks stripped the ball from the Celtics repeatedly in a blowout win Friday that gives them a chance to sweep the Celtics Sunday (1 p.m. tip) right before the Heat tries to complete a sweep in Milwaukee, both on ABC.
Point guard Pablo Prigioni had five of the Knicks 14 steals, most of them from simply stripping the ball out of the hands of the slower Celtics, who have not had star point guard Rajon Rondo since a season ending injury. On defense, the Celtics chose to focus on Carmelo Anthony, often leaving Prigioni open where he drilled three 3-pointers.
While the Heat look almost unbeatable, having won 40 of their last 42 games, Dwyane Wade is having his knee worked on and might even miss Sunday’s game. The Knicks were up 47-31 at half time and cruised to victory behind Anthony’s 26 points and Raymond Felton’s 10 assists.
With Russell Westbrook lost for the season, many no longer believe Oklahoma City has a chance to beat the Heat in a potential Finals rematch, and that the Knicks may be the best chance to beat the Heat. The Thunder did win two of four against the Heat, both by 20 points, but did lose lose the last two meetings while the Heat was going 40-2.
Anthony scored 30 on opening day November 2 to lead the Knicks to a blowout win over Miami, 104-84.
On December 6, they beat Miami 112-92, despite 31 points by LeBron James.
The blew a 20-point lead on their home court on March 3, losing 99-93, and then lost at Miami April 2 102-90.