Rapid Reaction: Knicks 89, Celtics 86

BOSTON -- Carmelo Anthony didn't have to confront Kevin Garnett off the court after Thursday's game between the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics.

He did all of his talking on the floor.

Anthony, facing off against Garnett for the first time since he was suspended one game for his postgame confrontation with the Boston big man on Jan. 7, had a game-high 28 points to go along with 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in the Knicks' 89-86 win over the Celtics.

He and Garnett bumped fists before the game, and then it was all business for Anthony, who was a capable scorer and distributor for New York.

With the win, New York (27-14) moved a game ahead of the Brooklyn Nets in the Atlantic Division.

The Celtics have lost five straight.

GOOD J.R./BAD J.R.: J.R. Smith found out before the game that he was not named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team. He didn't do much to show that the coaches made a mistake early on, missing 10 of his first 11 shots.

But, as only Smith can do, he made up for it all with a deep 3-pointer with 1:11 to play and the shot clock winding down to give the Knicks an 89-84 lead. Smith and Iman Shumpert (10 points, five rebounds) bothered Rajon Rondo into a turnover on the Celts' next possession.

Then, with the Celtics down three and 7.1 seconds to play, Smith forced Pierce to roll the ball off of his foot for a turnover.

Three game-changing plays in the final 1:11. Not a bad ending for Smith.

RHYTHM COMING BACK FOR STOUDEMIRE: Amar'e Stoudemire looked strong on the offensive end, with several fluid moves around the rim and effective cuts along the baseline.

In one sequence in the first half, he hit a layup on the right side over Jared Sullinger, blocked Sullinger's shot on the other end and then converted a reverse dunk over the Celtics rookie.

Stoudemire had 15 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks. He went 7-for-8 from the free-throw line and had a tip-in in the fourth quarter to give the Knicks a four-point lead with 3:30 to play.

Perhaps most importantly, Stoudemire was on the floor for the final five minutes of the game, a sign that Woodson has confidence in Stoudemire's progression to this point.

KIDD CAN PLAY: Jason Kidd had a very strong floor game for the Knicks. The heady 39-year-old had 12 points, 3 assists and 2 steals against Boston.

He was on the court for the final 5:37 for the Knicks, who snapped a 13-game losing streak in Boston.

Kidd also sucked some life out of the Celtics in the third quarter by stealing an inbounds pass, faking out Rondo and converting a layup.

Pablo Prigioni, playing after sitting out the past two practices with a toe injury, also made a solid contribution to the win.

He finished with six points and four assists and hit a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to put the Knicks up by eight.

Steve Novak couldn't find many openings in Boston's defense. He went 0-for-1 in 13 minutes and was held scoreless.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks head to Philadelphia from Boston. They will practice in the "City of Brotherly Love" on Friday and then play the first game of a back-to-back against the Sixers in Philly on Saturday. They'll come home to play the Hawks on Sunday.

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