85 - 87 Final
  for this game

Allen's late three lifts Celtics over Knicks in Game 1

Apr 18, 2011 - 4:30 AM Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Ray Allen buried a three-pointer with 11.6 seconds remaining, lifting the Celtics to an 87-85 victory over the Knicks in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

After Carmelo Anthony was called for an offensive foul to give Boston its final possession, Allen hit nothing but net on his shot from the left side.

"Sometimes the shot goes in, sometimes it doesn't," said Allen.

Anthony, trying to give the Knicks their first postseason win in nearly 10 years, then clanked a three-pointer off the front of the rim in the final seconds to end the game.

Allen scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half to lead the Celtics as they battled back from a 12-point deficit in the third quarter. His go-ahead three capped a 5-0 run to end the game, giving Boston just its fourth lead of the second half.

Paul Pierce added 18 points and Kevin Garnett scored 15 with a game-high 13 rebounds for third-seeded Boston. Jermaine O'Neal scored six of his 12 points to spark a key third quarter run.

"Regardless of how bad we were shooting or how bad we were playing defense I thought down the stretch we found a way to win and that was because of our experience," said Pierce.

The sixth-seeded Knicks -- in the playoffs for the first time since 2004 -- still haven't won a playoff game since 2001. They were led Sunday by their three newest stars.

Amare Stoudemire had 28 points and 11 rebounds, while Anthony scored 15 and Chauncey Billups chipped in 10 before leaving the game in the final minute after coming down hard on his left leg under the basket.

Despite blowing the lead, the Knicks were in good shape to win this one down the stretch.

"It's a tough loss. Anytime you lose with a few seconds left it's never a good feeling," said Stoudemire. "But we did play extremely hard, we did a great job defensively for most of the game, and just couldn't get the win."

Stoudemire was 12-for-18 in his first postseason game in a New York uniform, including a pair of key buckets in the last 3:37 of the fourth.

He victimized Garnett and O'Neal on both, spinning 360 degrees under the basket to make it 80-75, then responding to Allen's three-point play with a thunderous dunk to give the Knicks an 82-78 lead.

The Celtics later tied the game 82-82 on O'Neal's jumper in the paint with 1:12 remaining. Billups left the game on the next series, but Toney Douglas knocked down a three-pointer from the left side to give the Knicks an 85-82 lead with 37.8 seconds left.

After a timeout, Boston drew up an inbounds pass for Garnett -- an alley-oop pass from Rajon Rondo that he slammed to get the Celtics within one.

Anthony was jostling for position on the other end when he was called for elbowing Pierce, giving Boston its final possession and Allen the opportunity to win the game.

"As far as that offensive foul goes, what I thought and what they called was two different things," said Anthony. "So it is what it is, he called it and it's over with."

Game 2 of the series is set for Tuesday, also in Boston, when the Celtics will presumably be looking to get off to a better start.

They led 24-23 after a tight first quarter, but New York scored almost at will while taking control of the game in the second.

The Knicks shot nearly 65 percent in the quarter, with Anthony going 4-for-7 and hitting a par of three-pointers for 12 points. Boston shot just over 33 percent and was outscored 28-15 in the frame.

New York scored the final six points before halftime to carry a 51-39 lead into the break.

Boston got a spark from O'Neal, who scored six straight to start a 14-4 run in the third quarter that drew the Celtics within 59-57. The Knicks built their lead to five, 64-59, heading into the fourth.

Game Notes

This playoff rivalry dates back to 1950-51...Boston was without center Shaquille O'Neal, who missed all but five minutes of the last 34 regular season games with Achilles and calf injuries...Billups' injury is believed to be just a strain, but he will be re-evaluated on Monday.