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Pierce Scores 32 as Celtics Beat Knicks for 11th Straight Win

Paul Pierce hit a 14-foot jump shot with 0.4 seconds remaining to give the Boston Celtics a 118-116 win over the New York Knicks.

Pierce had 32 points as the Celtics extended their winning streak to 11 games by handing the Knicks their first defeat in nine games. Boston has the best record in the National Basketball Association’s Eastern Conference at 20-4.

Amar’e Stoudemire had 39 points for the Knicks, his ninth straight game with 30 points or more. Danilo Gallinari had all 20 of his points in the second half for the Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Pierce, who proclaimed before the game that the Knicks no longer qualified as rivals of the Celtics, was more complimentary in a televised interview after last night’s game.

“The Knicks have arrived and they’re going to be guys to reckon with in the division,” Pierce said.

The Celtics, who hit all 21 of their free throws in the game, trailed by 12 points with five minutes left in the third period.

Boston took its first lead since the third minute of the game when Ray Allen hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:01 remaining in the contest. Gallinari’s three-point play tied the game at 116. Stoudemire missed a 4-foot jumper with 13 seconds left, setting up Pierce’s winner.

After Pierce’s shot and a timeout, the Knicks inbounded the ball to Stoudemire about five feet behind the 3-point line and he swished a potentially winning shot through the basket, only to have the referees rule it didn’t count because it came after the final buzzer.

The Knicks host LeBron James and the Miami Heat tomorrow night. The Heat extended their winning streak to 10 games with a 101-95 victory last night at home against Cleveland.

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