New York’s ninth win in 13 games, behind a 35-point performance from Carmelo Anthony, lifted it to 32-29, one game ahead of the 76ers, who slipped to 31-30 with their seventh defeat in nine games.
The Knicks are seventh in the Eastern Conference, with Philadelphia occupying the eighth and final playoff spot. The Milwaukee Bucks (29-31), who visit the Washington Wizards tonight, are ninth.
Paul Pierce scored a season-high 43 points for the Celtics (36-26), who already have clinched a postseason spot. Boston missed a chance to clinch the Atlantic Division title with the loss. New York now trails Boston by 3 1/2 games in the five-team standings.
Anthony also had 12 rebounds and 10 assists at Madison Square Garden last night to log his first triple-double of the season and second of his career.
Reserves J.R. Smith and Steve Novak had 25 points each as the Knicks’ bench outscored the Celtics’ non-starters 55-2.
The Knicks and 76ers each have five regular-season games remaining. Tonight, New York visits the New Jersey Nets, while Philadelphia plays the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Amar’e Stoudemire may return for New York against the Cavaliers on April 20, interim coach Mike Woodson told reporters. Stoudemire injured his back March 24.
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