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Knicks Defeat Celtics, Nets Rout Bulls in NBA Playoff Openers

Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 36 points to help the New York Knicks beat the Boston Celtics 85-78 in the first game of their best-of-seven National Basketball Association playoff series.

In the second Eastern Conference game yesterday, the Brooklyn Nets routed the Chicago Bulls 106-89. In the Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets defeated the Golden State Warriors 97-95 and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Memphis Grizzlies 112-91.

In today’s games, the defending champion and top-seeded Miami Heat host the Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks travel to the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference games, while the Houston Rockets entertain the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs are home against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference.

The second-seeded Knicks were down 70-63 with one minute, 20 seconds left in the third quarter after Paul Pierce’s 3-pointer at Madison Square Garden. New York then scored 18 points and held Boston to eight in the fourth quarter.

“We stayed with it,” Anthony, the Knicks’ leading scorer, said in a televised interview. “We knew we were making minor mistakes. We corrected them.”

J.R. Smith had 15 points and Raymond Felton added 13 for the Knicks, who host Game 2 on April .

Jeff Green led the Celtics with 26 points, followed by Pierce with 21 and Avery Bradley with 15.

Nets Win

At Barclays Center, Deron Williams had 22 points and Brook Lopez contributed 21 points as the Nets made their first playoff appearance since 2007.

“As good a year as we’ve had, I think we’re still fighting for more respect,” Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo told reporters. “It will come from us advancing.”

The Nets moved out to a 25-point halftime advantage, 60-35, hitting 16 of 20 shots in the second quarter.

“That was a hell of a performance,” Carlesimo said. “I thought we competed extremely well, defended extremely well, and we pushed the ball and shared the ball.”

The fourth-seeded Nets expanded their lead by as many as 28 points at nine minutes, six seconds into the third quarter on Gerald Wallace’s free throw which gave Brooklyn a 70-42 lead at Barclays Center.

Carlos Boozer had 25 points and Nate Robinson came off the bench to score 17 points for the fifth-seeded Bulls, who visit the Nets for Game 2 on April 22.

Nuggets Win

In the Western Conference, Andre Miller hit a driving layup with one second left to give the Nuggets a 1-0 playoff lead over the Warriors at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

The Nuggets, trailing 48-44 at the half, outscored the Warriors 27-16 in the third quarter and then watched Golden State, trailing by as much as eight points, tie the game in the fourth quarter at 81-81 on Stephen Curry’s layup with seven minutes, 13 seconds left in the game.

Golden State was behind by eight three minutes later when Miller’s free throw gave the Nuggets an 89-81 lead. Curry made a 23-foot 3-pointer with 14 seconds left to catch up 95-95. Miller hit the basket for the win.

Miller came off the bench to score 28 points and Ty Lawson added 12 for the third-seeded Nuggets, who host Game 2 on April 23.

Klay Thompson led the sixth-seeded Warriors with 22 points and Curry added 19. All-Star David Lee left the game with a hip injury after he collided with JaVale McGee in the fourth quarter.

At the Staples Center, Chris Paul scored 23 points in the fourth-seeded Clippers’ victory against the Grizzlies, seeded fifth in the Western Conference.

The Clippers had a 57-51 halftime lead and then outscored their opponent 55-40 in the second half.

Eric Bledsoe came off the bench to score 15 points and Chauncey Billups added 14 for the Clippers who host Game 2 on April 22.

Reserve Jerryd Bayless had 19 points and Marc Gasol scored 16 for the Grizzlies.

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