BOSTON (AP) Avery Bradley scored seven of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, hitting a 3-pointer with 2:38 to play to give the Celtics the lead for good, and Boston beat the New York Knicks 90-86 on Friday night.
Jared Sullinger had 19 points and six rebounds, all but one basket in the first half when the Celtics opened a 17-point lead. Courtney Lee scored 18 points and Brandon Bass had 10 points and eight rebounds for Boston, which snapped a two-game losing streak and held onto first place in the woeful Atlantic Division.
Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points and Andrea Bargnani had 22 for the Knicks. But Anthony missed a jumper that could have tied it after Bradley gave Boston the lead, and then he was blocked by Jeff Green with a minute to play.
The Knicks lost for the third time in four games and their 12th in their last 15.
The victory came five days after the Celtics led the Knicks by as many as 45 points in New York in a 114-73 victory that was the biggest blowout in the NBA this season. This one seemed headed the same way when Boston went on a 21-2 run at the end of the first quarter and start of the second to open a 17-point lead, but the Knicks chipped it down to six at the half and then tied it at 59 with 7:15 left in the third on Iman Shumpert's 3-pointer.
New York led 84-83 when Jordan Crawford hit Bradley for a 3-pointer that put Boston ahead with 2:38 to play. Anthony missed a jumper, then Crawford missed a long 3 as the shot clock was winding down before Bargnani missed a 3-pointer of his own.
Crawford, who had six assists, found Vitor Faverani underneath to make it 88-84, and Green blocked Anthony with 1 minute to play. Bargnani hit a jumper from the foul line to make it a two-point game, but Green drove to the basket on J.R. Smith and made a right-handed layup from the left side of the basket as Amare Stoudemire unsuccessfully flailed at the ball.
Green missed the free throw, but Anthony missed an off-balance 3-pointer at the other end with 4 seconds left and Bradley grabbed the rebound.
Notes: Boston first-round draft pick Kelly Olynyk returned after missing 10 games with an ankle injury. He had four points and four rebounds in 14 minutes, and also one highlight blocked shot... NY PG Raymond Felton missed his second straight game with a strained left hamstring that is expected to keep him out two to three weeks. Shumpert, who is nursing a bruised left knee, played 23 minutes and scored three points.