The Knicks remain red-hot and now take their longest winning streak since 2010 to Miami.
Their eighth straight victory was a 108-89 laugher over the Celtics Sunday night, setting up what should be an intense game Tuesday night against the defending champs.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade missed the Heat's win in San Antonio Sunday night. But with the Knicks riding the NBA's current longest streak, it would be surprising if they don't play when Miami goes for its 30th win in 31 games.
"I want to see the whole team," Raymond Felton said. "Regardless of who they put out there, they still got a Miami Heat jersey. We're gunning for them no matter what. We're going out there to get a win."
The Knicks (46-26) are gunning for 50 wins and a very long playoff run as they continue their most successful season in more than a decade. The board in the locker room has a big 50 on it, put there by Rasheed Wallace. With 10 games left, they're well on their way to their first 50-win season since 1999-2000.
They dominated Boston, leading by double figures the last 31:06, to improve to 20 games over .500 for the first time since 2000. The Atlantic Division-leading Knicks opened a 41/2-game lead on the Nets and are back in second place in the Eastern Conference, percentage points ahead of the Pacers. The Celtics, winners of the previous five division titles, are 81/2 back. "We're playing like we're trying to get something accomplished," coach Mike Woodson said.
Carmelo Anthony scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Chris Copeland added 22 points. Felton had 18, including a 50-foot bank shot at the buzzer to end the first half. J.R. Smith, who had scored at least 32 points in the previous three games, finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds. The Knicks shot 14-for-27 from three-point range.
The Knicks hope they escaped a scare with Kenyon Martin, who has been huge in Tyson Chandler's absence. Martin strained an abdominal muscle in the first quarter. He played in the second half but left the game and didn't return. Martin said it was "precautionary," given that the Knicks were up big, and that he will play Tuesday night.
Chandler, who sat again because of a bulging disc in his neck, worked out before the game. He looked a little stiff and grabbed his neck after taking some hook shots but hopes to return against the Heat.
The Knicks led by 17 heading to the fourth quarter and extended it to 24, with the Garden crowd reacting loudly. The Knicks went 3-1 against Boston -- the first time they have done that since 2003-04. "The fans definitely understand what's going on," Anthony said. "Any time we have a chance to beat Boston, it's always a good feeling."
The Knicks shot 11-for-16 from three-point range in the first half, including 6-for-8 in the second quarter, when they rang up 37 points.
The Knicks made 37 three-pointers in their first two games against Miami, both 20-point wins, but lost to the Heat here March 3. Woodson was asked if he hopes Miami is at full strength Tuesday.
"I really don't care," he said. "We've seen it enough. They're pretty good. I can't dictate what they're going to do. I've just got to worry about our team and us staying the course as far as our journey and what we're trying to accomplish."