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April 1, 2013

Knicks rout Celtics 108-89 for eighth straight win

NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and the New York Knicks extended their winning streak to eight games and moved closer to ending Boston’s hold on the Atlantic Division title with a 108-89 victory over the Celtics on Sunday night.

The Knicks beat the Celtics for the second time this week and won the season series for the first time since 2003-04, when they also went 3-1 against Boston. New York climbed back into a tie with Indiana in the race for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, which would currently mean a playoff meeting with the Celtics.

Chris Copeland added 22 points and Raymond Felton had 18 for the Knicks, who last won eight in a row from Nov. 28-Dec. 12, 2010. They will try to extend the streak Tuesday at NBA-leading Miami.

J.R. Smith, who had 30 points off the bench in his previous three games, finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Jeff Green scored 27 points, and Paul Pierce had 24 points and 15 rebounds as the Celtics had a two-game winning streak snapped.

New York opened a 4 1/2 -game lead over Brooklyn atop the Atlantic and moved the Celtics to the brink of elimination in the division race. Boston has won all five division titles since acquiring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in the summer of 2007.

The Knicks, who won by 15 in Boston on Tuesday, haven’t won a division title since the 1993-94 season.

The Knicks played their 10th straight game without Tyson Chandler, who has a bulging disk in his neck and hopes to return Tuesday. They flourished using a variety of small lineups, taking advantage of a Celtics team that has no inside presence, either, with Garnett continuing to rest a sore left ankle.

Smith had averaged 26.4 points during the winning streak but shot just 4 of 12 Sunday. Still, New York controlled the game from early in the second quarter in the opener of a five-game stretch against likely playoff teams.

The Knicks shot 52 percent in the first quarter, got 12 points from Anthony and led 28-23. They opened it up with eight straight points early in the second to take a 42-32 lead on Steve Novak’s 3-pointer. The Celtics trimmed the deficit to single digits just once in the half, which ended spectacularly when Felton threw in a buzzer-beater from just beyond half court to make it 65-48.

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