BOSTON — J.R. Smith scored 32 points, Carmelo Anthony added 29 and the New York Knicks extended their winning streak to five games with a 100-85 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.
The win moved the Knicks into second place in the Eastern Conference, percentage points ahead of the Indiana Pacers. The Celtics, who could face the Knicks in the first round of the playoffs, lost their fifth game in a row and remained in seventh.
Neither team led by more than four points in the early going and the score was tied 35-35 early in the second quarter.
The Knicks then scored the next 14, led 58-44 at halftime and stayed comfortably ahead the rest of the way, leading by as many as 17 points.
The Celtics, playing their second straight game without Kevin Garnett, were led by Jeff Green with 19 points and Paul Pierce with 16.
But they committed 20 turnovers, while the Knicks, who have the fewest average turnovers in the NBA, had just eight.
Garnett is expected to miss about two weeks with inflammation in his left ankle. Starting guard Courtney Lee also sat out his second game in a row with a sprained left ankle. Starters Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger already are sidelined for the season.
The Knicks were without two key big men, Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire.
Steve Novak began New York’s 14-0 surge with a 3-pointer, Anthony hit a 19-foot jumper and Smith followed with a tip-in. Anthony then converted an alley-oop from Pablo Prigioni before Prigioni made a reverse layup and Novak ended the run with another 3.
Brandon Bass’ layup with 7:47 left in the second quarter had tied it at 35, but the Celtics didn’t score again until Jordan Crawford made a pair of free throws with 3:53 left in the half. Boston went without a field goal until Green’s layup with 3:27 remaining made it 49-37.
The Celtics cut the lead to 69-62 on a layup by Pierce with 5:21 left in the third quarter, but the Knicks scored the next nine points to open a 78-62 lead.
Anthony began the spurt with two free throws, Jason Kidd scored his first points of the game on a 3-pointer, Kenyon Martin dunked on a follow-up and Anthony hit two more free throws.
The Knicks led 84-69 entering the fourth quarter and took their biggest lead, 91-74, on a 3-pointer by Novak.
TIMBERWOLVES 105, PISTONS 82: In Auburn Hills, Mich., Nikola Pekovic had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead Minnesota over Detroit.
The game matched one of the league’s worst home teams against one of the worst on the road. The Pistons haven’t won at home since before the All-Star break, losing seven straight, while Minnesota had lost 10 of its last 11 road games.
Reserve J.J. Barea matched a season-best with 21 points for Minnesota, while Luke Ridnour scored 15 and Ricky Rubio added 14 points and nine assists.
Greg Monroe had 11 points and 12 rebounds for Detroit, while point guard Jose Calderon scored 14 points but only had one assist.