118 - 116 Final
  for this game

Celtics edge Knicks on Pierce's shot, win 11th straight

Dec 16, 2010 - 6:07 AM New York, NY (Sports Network) - Amare Stoudemire's shot didn't count. Paul Pierce's dagger four-tenths of a second earlier did.

Pierce drained a contested jumper off a high screen with 0.4 ticks remaining to put Boston in front. After a timeout, Stoudemire's three-pointer from the top of the key came just after the buzzer, as the Celtics outlasted the red-hot New York Knicks, 118-116, at Madison Square Garden.

Yet, even in defeat the Knicks left quite an impression on the playoff-tested Celtics.

"The Knicks have arrived," said Pierce. "They're going to be a force to reckon with in the division."

Pierce scored 32 points on 10-of-18 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds. Ray Allen added 26 points, including four treys, and Kevin Garnett posted 20 points and 13 rebounds for Boston, which won its 11th straight game.

Stoudemire matched a season high with 39 points, his ninth straight game of at least 30 points. Raymond Felton added 26 points and 14 assists, while Danilo Gallinari collected 20 points for the Knicks, who saw their eight-game winning streak come to an end in heartwrenching fashion.

It felt like the old days at the Garden, where the duels between Larry Bird's Celtics and Patrick Ewing's Knicks dotted the NBA landscape. These two teams, each with their own lengthy winning streak, proved their worth down the stretch, delivering blows and holding their own.

Stoudemire's slam in the lane off Felton's 14th and final assist put the Knicks in front, 111-107, with just under three minutes to play. Garnett responded with a tough baseline turnaround jumper, but Felton streaked the length of the floor for the bucket, a move reminiscent of his playing days at North Carolina.

Garnett missed from in close, but corralled the rebound and slammed home the miss to narrow the margin back to two points, 113-111 with just over two minutes on the clock.

Stoudemire then fouled Garnett, who converted on both attempts to square the contest with 1:29 to go.

Felton missed a contested shot near the basket and stayed down after some uncalled contact, leading to numbers for the Celtics, who moved the ball around the perimeter to Allen, who stationed himself in the right corner and drained a trey with 1:02 on the clock.

After a timeout, the Knicks responded as Gallinari used his quickness to blow past a flat-footed Pierce and convert a scoop shot while being fouled. He made the game-tying free throw with 50.4 seconds to play.

Rondo committed his sixth turnover on the other end, but Stoudemire missed a mid-range jumper with just over 13 seconds on the clock. Boston called timeout and set up a high pick-and-roll for Pierce, who worked off the screen to his strong right side and connected on the jumper, prompting a long sprint down the sideline in front of many famous Knicks season-ticket holders.

The Knicks, undeterred, called timeout and worked up a play to get Stoudemire the basketball at the top of the circle off a high screen. The forward caught the ball, turned and hesitated just a fraction before firing and connecting on a three-pointer that was initially called good. After discussion and review, the shot was waved off, as it appeared to hang on Stoudemire's fingers as the red light came on behind the backboard.

"I wasn't sure if it was good or not, but it felt good," a disappointed Stoudemire said. "We played great basketball tonight."

Stoudemire's running jump shot in the lane capped seven successive points for the home-standing Knicks, who ran out to a 26-15 edge and held a 32-24 advantage over one period.

Felton's three-pointer just before the horn gave the Knicks a 58-51 lead heading into the locker room. Felton again factored in the scoring at the end of the third quarter, making all three foul shots with just 0.1 seconds left for a 90-83 edge.

It took Boston just under 3 1/2 minutes to pull even, as Allen drained a three-pointer and six seconds later a technical free throw to cap an 11-4 stretch for a 94-94 stalemate.

Game Notes

The fourth-quarter technical was whistled on Stoudemire...Boston's Shaquille O'Neal missed his third consecutive game with a sore right calf...Felton was a perfect 7-of-7 from the charity stripe, as the Knicks made 21-of-26 as a team...New York shot 53.1 percent from the floor compared to 52.3 for the Celtics, who made all 21 of their foul shots...The back-and-forth affair featured seven ties and six lead changes.