BOSTON -- There's a foursome in the Bahamas looking for another golfer this weekend: Ray Allen is going to New Orleans instead.
The Celtics guard found out that he'd been added to the Eastern Conference roster for the All-Star game at halftime, then went back onto the floor to finish a 21-point effort and help Boston beat the New York Knicks 111-103 on Wednesday night.
"Obviously, I'm ecstatic to be an eight-time All-Star," said Allen, who didn't react when coach Doc Rivers told him in the locker room that he was replacing injured Washington forward Caron Butler on the East roster. "I knew what he was saying. I wasn't happy because I had a couple turnovers in the first half. So I wasn't jumping for joy, but I was definitely glad to be going."
Fellow All-Star Paul Pierce scored 24 points, and Leon Powe and Rajon Rondo had 18 points apiece to give the Celtics a five-game winning streak heading into the break. Sub James Posey had a season-high 11 rebounds for Boston, which lost forwards Brian Scalabrine to a groin pull and Glen "Big Baby" Davis to what Rivers called a "twisted knee."
The Celtics were already without Kevin Garnett, who missed his ninth consecutive game with an abdominal strain and will sit out Sunday's All-Star game in New Orleans.
"It was a dangerous win for us," said Rivers, who will coach the East team because the Celtics have the best record in the conference. "With all the injuries and the guys playing different spots, I don't know if you can ask much more.
"We absolutely need a break. I think a lot of teams need a break."
Jamal Crawford scored 26 points for New York, and Zach Randolph had 20 points and 13 rebounds in just 26 minutes before fouling out. David Lee had 18 points and eight boards for the Knicks, who lost coach Isiah Thomas early in the fourth to two quick technicals.
The game was only briefly competitive, after the Knicks cut into Boston's 27-point third-quarter lead to make it 97-90 with seven minutes left. But the Celtics scored the next eight points to pull away and improve to 7-2 without Garnett.
"I thought we were fighting our way back into the game," Thomas said. "I thought we got hit with a haymaker coming out into the third quarter. I thought we were getting back into the game. I thought it was turning into a pretty good basketball game."
But one that was quickly losing participants.
Scalabrine left in the first three minutes, and Davis followed after landing hard on his left leg and grasping his knee in pain.
"It hurts really bad," said Davis, who was scheduled for an MRI on Thursday. "That's all I know."
New York lost Thomas on a pair of technicals 78 seconds apart early in the fourth quarter. The Knicks coach was complaining about a call when he was whistled for his first "T" by referee Mark Lindsay with 11:35 left in the game. Lindsay called his second technical and pointed toward the locker room with 10:17 to play.
Thomas stood on the sideline, his hands on his hips, incredulous. He waved Celtics coach Doc Rivers over, shook his hand and gave him a hug before heading off the court.
"I think Doc and I both kind of looked at each other in disbelief," Thomas said.
The Knicks lost in Boston 104-59 on Nov. 29, getting Nate Robinson's 37-foot 3-pointer at the final buzzer to avoid scoring the fewest points in franchise history.
This one was closer -- but the outcome wasn't any more in doubt.
The Celtics led 53-40 at the half and scored the first 12 points of the third quarter, opening the half with two steals by Pierce and another by Rajon Rondo. Boston took a 75-48 lead with 6:04 left before the Knicks began to chip away at the deficit.
New York ended the third with a 10-2 run, making it 85-72 on a 22-footer by Crawford in the final seconds.
|The Celtics stop the Knicks despite losing two more players -- Brian Scalabrine and Glen Davis. (AP)|
|New York (15-37)||24||16||32||31||103|
|Boston (41-9) «||21||32||32||26||111|
|NY:J. Crawford 26 Pts
NY:Z. Randolph 13 Reb
NY:J. Crawford 7 Ast
|BOS:P. Pierce 24 Pts
BOS:J. Posey 11 Reb
BOS:P. Pierce 7 Ast
|Players of the Game|
|J. Crawford, SG||44||8-21||9-11||2||7||2||26|
|F. Jones, SG||40||4-8||0-0||2||6||6||10|
|Q. Richardson, SF||32||3-10||2-2||6||1||1||9|
|Z. Randolph, PF||26||7-13||6-6||13||1||6||20|
|E. Curry, C||9||1-2||0-0||0||0||1||2|
|N. Robinson, PG||32||3-7||4-4||1||5||0||11|
|D. Lee, PF||30||6-8||6-6||8||0||3||18|
|M. Rose, PF||18||3-9||1-1||5||0||4||7|
|J. Jeffries, PF||5||0-1||0-0||0||0||0||0|
|R. Balkman, PF||4||0-0||0-0||0||0||2||0|
|S. Marbury, PG||Did Not Play|
|J. James, PF||Did Not Play|
|M. Collins, PG||Did Not Play|
|R. Morris, C||Did Not Play|
|W. Chandler, SF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|R. Allen, SG||41||6-16||7-8||8||5||2||21|
|P. Pierce, SG||41||6-14||10-10||5||7||5||24|
|L. Powe, PF||38||7-9||4-4||8||1||3||18|
|R. Rondo, PG||33||9-14||0-2||3||5||3||18|
|B. Scalabrine, PF||3||0-1||0-0||1||0||0||0|
|J. Posey, SF||40||1-5||2-4||11||5||4||5|
|T. Allen, SG||19||6-8||1-2||1||2||4||14|
|E. House, SG||15||2-6||0-0||1||3||2||5|
|G. Davis, PF||9||1-2||4-6||1||1||2||6|
|K. Garnett, PF||Did Not Play|
|S. Pollard, C||Did Not Play|
|K. Perkins, C||Did Not Play|
|G. Pruitt, PG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|