Kevin Garnett scored the go-ahead basket and followed with a key steal to help the Boston Celtics record a 96-93 victory over the visiting New York Knicks on Tuesday and take a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.
The third-seeded Celtics survived an onslaught by Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, who had 42 points and 17 rebounds but was aggressively double-teamed down the stretch.
Garnett’s jump hook over Jared Jeffries with 13.3 seconds left gave Boston a 94-93 lead. Moments later, he deflected Jeffries’ pass, fell on the ball and called timeout with 4.1 seconds left.
Delonte West hit two free throws with 0.6 seconds to play, sealing the win. Game 3 is Friday in New York.
Rajon Rondo scored a playoff career-high 30 points for Boston. Paul Pierce scored 20 points, Ray Allen had 18 and Garnett contributed 12 and 10 rebounds.
The shorthanded Knicks were without injured point guard Chauncey Billups and played the second half without leading scorer Amar’e Stoudemire due to back spasms. Stoudemire tallied just four points on 2-of-9 shooting before leaving.
Anthony made 14-of-30 shots in matching his playoff career high. Toney Douglas added 14 points for the Knicks.
Boston used a 15-4 run to build an 11-point lead with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter, but sixth-seeded New York rallied and took an 81-80 lead on a 3-pointer by Douglas with 6:48 remaining.
Billups missed the game due to knee injury suffered near the end of Sunday’s Game 1.