Good Evening
Good Evening

Knicks again dig early hole and fall to Celtics in Boston

Knicks' Carmelo Anthony shoots over Boston Celtics' Kelly

Knicks' Carmelo Anthony shoots over Boston Celtics' Kelly Olynyk during a game at TD Garden on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015. Credit: EPA / CJ Gunther

BOSTON — Carmelo Anthony feels as if he’s playing in the same game over and over again. It’s like a recurring bad dream.

The Knicks have become consistent in that way — and it’s not a good way. It’s another game, another double-digit deficit and another loss.

This time it was the Celtics who outplayed the Knicks, recording a 100-91 win last night. The Knicks, who have dropped four straight, needed a big scoring night from Anthony just to be in this game, with the Celtics’ guards dominating the matchup.

The Knicks trailed by 15 in the third quarter and 14 in the fourth before making a run to get within five with 4:48 left. But they missed three times with a chance to get closer and fell to 14-18.

“It feels like we’re digging ourselves a hole, we’re starting off slow and we got to pick it up,” Anthony said. “By the time we come back, either we’re fatigued or we’re hoping and praying that things go our way, and things don’t go our way. The games that we do lose, I feel like we put ourselves in the same situation.”

Anthony scored 29 points — although he shot 11-for-26 — and grabbed 10 rebounds. Kristaps Porzingis struggled with his shooting again, going 4-for-13 and misfiring on two of those shots down the stretch. He still recorded his 12th double-double: 16 points and 12 rebounds. As a team, the Knicks shot 37.1 percent (33-for-89).

“We just couldn’t make shots,” Porzingis said. “We were missing wide-open shots. We were missing shots we normally make. That led us to be down by that many points. Then we made that run a little bit, but it fell too short.”

Isaiah Thomas led Boston (18-13) with 21 points, including eight of the Celtics’ last 10. He also had eight rebounds and six assists as he exploited one of the Knicks’ main weaknesses — point guard play. Backup guard Evan Turner added 19 points.

The Celtics’ guards totaled 52 points and 11 assists. Jose Calderon, Arron Afflalo, Langston Galloway and Sasha Vujacic totaled 12 points and seven assists.

“He’s tough,” Anthony said of the 5-9 Thomas. “A little guy with big heart out there.”

The Knicks never really gave themselves a chance. They were down 51-41 at the half and opened the third quarter by committing six turnovers and scoring one field goal in the first 4:48 as the Celtics extended to 59-44. “We’re still making the game a little too hard offensively,” Derek Fisher said.

The Knicks trailed 83-69 early in the fourth quarter but closed to within 88-83 with 5:30 left on Anthony’s three-pointer. Two free throws by Porzingis with 4:48 left kept the Knicks within five at 90-85. But they missed their next four shots and Thomas scored inside to make it 92-85 with 2:59 left.

After a missed three-pointer by Afflalo, Thomas scored in transition to give Boston a nine-point lead with 2:40 remaining.

The Knicks still had a little life left, down 96-89 with less than 1:40 remaining. But Anthony missed two three-pointers and Thomas sealed the game with two foul shots with 50.9 seconds to go.

“As far as the losing, I’m not happy about that,” Anthony said. “But the effort was there. This was a game where we could have easily just laid down. But we didn’t. Everybody kept fighting.”

But the result was an all-too-familiar one.

New York Sports