Another crushing loss for Knicks, 91-89
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BOSTON -- The Knicks played a second straight game that came down to a final possession, and for the second consecutive night, they couldn't make the big play. One night after a three-point loss to Eastern Conference-leading Chicago, the Knicks fell to the Celtics, 91-89, at TD Garden Friday night.
The Knicks (8-15), who have lost 11 of 13, conclude their only back-to-back-to-back of the season Saturday night at home against the Nets, and it could be an important game for Mike D'Antoni's future.
The Knicks led by 12 in the third quarter Friday and had three chances in the last 41 seconds to tie the score or go ahead. They missed their last three shots -- and none was taken by Carmelo Anthony or Amar'e Stoudemire. "We had a real shot to win," D'Antoni said. "We're a little snake-bitten right now."
"This is definitely not a good feeling right now," Stoudemire said. "Winning is always what you play for. It brings you joy when you're winning. Right now, we are not winning, so it's a little bit difficult to deal with.''
Iman Shumpert, Landry Fields and Steve Novak misfired on shots in the final minute. Novak made his only appearance of the night on the final possession, and his long, contested corner jumper that could have tied the score hit nothing.
The Knicks are playing harder, but they continue to have different issues throughout the game. They gave up seven offensive rebounds in the third quarter that led to seven Celtics points. The offense again sputtered after the Knicks took a 67-55 lead with 7:15 left in the third. They scored 22 points in the final 19:14 and shot 9-for-29.
"We played hard," Stoudemire said. "We fought. We had them on the ropes in the third quarter. We just didn't make that push the second part of the third quarter."
Anthony paced the Knicks with 26 points. Tyson Chandler fouled out with 20 points and 11 rebounds and Stoudemire had 16 points and 11 boards. Paul Pierce led the Celtics (12-10) with 30 points. Ray Allen scored nine of his 14 points in the last 4:24.
After Allen's basket inside made it 90-85, the Knicks answered with two consecutive dunks to make it a one-point game with 1:26 left. They had a chance to regain the lead on their next trip, but Anthony missed inside and Shumpert missed a wide-open three.
After a shot-clock violation nullified a three-pointer by Pierce that would have given Boston a 93-89 lead with 16.1 seconds left, the Knicks were down one with the ball. But Fields missed a jumper that Pierce tracked down. His foul shot with 5.2 seconds left made it 91-89.
On the final possession, with the Celtics overplaying Anthony, Novak got the ball in the left corner. He couldn't get a good look against Mickael Pietrus but had to take the shot as the clock was running out. "We didn't execute it real well," D'Antoni said. "I thought we had great looks like two or three times before that and didn't make them. We ran out of great looks and they shut us down at the end."
Notes & quotes: The Knicks' troubles at point guard have been so prevalent that seldom-used Jeremy Lin was the backup ahead of Toney Douglas and Mike Bibby . . . Baron Davis stayed in New York and did his rehab work for his back. There's still no timetable for his return.