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Anthony carries Knicks

The Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony leans on Celtics defender Jeff Green and eventually works free, scoring 36 in a victory.

Associated Press

The Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony leans on Celtics defender Jeff Green and eventually works free, scoring 36 in a victory.

NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony started fast, struggled through the middle and finished with a flurry. And the Knicks, after knocking the Celtics from the top of the Atlantic Division, took the first step toward knocking them out of the playoffs.

Anthony scored 36, leading the Knicks to an 85-78 victory Saturday in their Eastern Conference first-round playoff opener.

"It's a wonderful feeling to know that we got our first win of the series here on our homecourt, took care of that business," Anthony said.

The league's scoring leader had 10 quick points and endured a tough shooting day from there before scoring eight in the fourth quarter, helping New York take a 1-0 lead in a series for the first time since the 2001 first round against Toronto.

"They're going to make it as tough as possible for him to score," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said of the Celtics defenders. "When he had to pick it up down the stretch, he made the plays that we needed him to make. … That's what the great ones do. They figure it out."

Jeff Green scored 26 and Paul Pierce 21 for the Celtics, who missed injured point guard Rajon Rondo and committed 21 turnovers that led to 20 points.

"We were making post passes from the other side of the floor. Those are just not good passes," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.

Miller keeps Nuggets rolling at home

DENVER — Andre Miller scored a playoff career-high 28 and slipped in a layup with 1.3 seconds left that lifted the Nuggets to a 97-95 win over the Warriors in the opener of their Western Conference series.

"I've never hit a game-winning shot," said the 37-year-old veteran of 13 seasons. "Never. I've taken a couple and missed or turned the ball over. But that was big for a first playoff game."

Miller drove left past Draymond Green, did an up-and-under between defenders under the basket and banked the ball off the glass with his right hand.

The Warriors inbounded, and Stephen Curry's desperation 3 wasn't close, then the Nuggets celebrated their 24th straight win at the Pepsi Center. Curry had tied the score at 95 with a 3 with 14.5 seconds left. Denver had an NBA-best 38-3 home record this season.

The sixth-seeded Warriors lost All-Star David Lee to a possible right hip flexor strain in the fourth quarter when he banged into JaVale McGee. The former Gator was taken for X-rays.

Nets stymie Bulls

NEW YORK — Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and the Nets turned the Brooklyn blackout into a blowout, beating the Bulls 106-89 in Game 1.

Williams scored 22, Lopez had 21 and the Nets ripped apart the Bulls' vaunted defense with a second quarter in which they made 16 of 20 shots.

The Nets wore their road black uniforms and fans were encouraged to wear black as well.

"It was the end of the first (quarter) and they hit us with a haymaker, got us back on our heels," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.

Carlos Boozer had 25 points and eight rebounds for the Bulls, who used Joakim Noah in limited minutes despite foot pain.

Before the game, Thibodeau ruled guard Derrick Rose (torn ACL) out for Saturday, but he left open the slim possibility Rose could play this postseason.

Heat gets real now

MIAMI — The eight preseason outings, the 82 regular-season contests, they're forgotten now. The Heat has been waiting all season for this: the playoffs and the chance to repeat as champions.

In front of Miami tonight in its East first-round opener is the underdog Bucks.

Heat star LeBron James finds it hard to sleep well at playoff time. "Like the night before Christmas," he said.

Among today's other openers, in the West the Spurs face a Lakers team that pulled together without Kobe Bryant (torn Achilles tendon). "He challenges you on every possession, but I'm not going to miss him," said the Spurs' Manu Ginobili.

Knicks 85, Celtics 78

BOSTON (78): Green 8-15 7-7 26, Bass 2-2 0-0 4, Garnett 4-12 0-0 8, Bradley 7-14 0-0 15, Pierce 6-15 8-8 21, Terry 0-5 0-0 0, Crawford 0-0 0-0 0, Lee 0-2 4-4 4. Totals 27-65 19-19 78.

NEW YORK (85): Anthony 13-29 6-6 36, Copeland 0-3 0-0 0, Chandler 0-0 0-0 0, Felton 5-13 2-3 13, Shumpert 1-2 0-0 3, Smith 7-19 0-1 15, Kidd 2-6 2-2 8, Martin 4-7 2-3 10, Novak 0-0 0-0 0, J.White 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-79 12-15 85.

Boston 29 24 17 8— 78

New York 26 23 18 18— 85

3-Point GoalsBoston 5-20 (Green 3-5, Bradley 1-2, Pierce 1-7, Garnett 0-1, Lee 0-1, Terry 0-4), New York 9-25 (Anthony 4-6, Kidd 2-5, Shumpert 1-2, Felton 1-3, Smith 1-7, Copeland 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsBoston 44 (Bass 10), New York 44 (Martin 9). AssistsBoston 18 (Pierce 7), New York 13 (Felton 6). Total FoulsBoston 17, New York 23. TechnicalsBoston defensive three second, Chandler. A19,033.

Nuggets 97, Warriors 95

GOLDEN STATE (95): Barnes 3-4 0-0 8, Lee 4-14 2-4 10, Bogut 4-7 1-2 9, Curry 7-20 1-1 19, Thompson 10-19 0-0 22, Ezeli 0-1 1-2 1, Jack 3-12 4-4 10, Landry 6-14 2-2 14, Green 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 38-92 11-15 95.

DENVER (97): Iguodala 2-4 4-6 8, Chandler 5-16 1-2 11, Koufos 2-7 2-2 6, Lawson 6-15 0-0 12, Fournier 3-9 5-6 11, McGee 4-4 1-3 9, Brewer 4-12 0-2 10, A.Miller 11-16 5-7 28, Randolph 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 38-85 18-28 97.

Golden State 25 23 16 31— 95

Denver 28 16 27 26— 97

3-Point GoalsGolden State 8-22 (Curry 4-10, Barnes 2-2, Thompson 2-5, Jack 0-5), Denver 3-16 (Brewer 2-4, A.Miller 1-1, Iguodala 0-1, Fournier 0-3, Lawson 0-3, Chandler 0-4). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsGolden State 64 (Lee, Bogut 14), Denver 51 (Chandler 13). AssistsGolden State 27 (Jack 10), Denver 16 (A.Miller, Iguodala 5). Total FoulsGolden State 21, Denver 18. TechnicalsDenver defensive three second. A19,155.

Nets 106, Bulls 89

CHICAGO (89): Deng 3-11 0-3 6, Boozer 12-20 1-2 25, Noah 2-6 0-0 4, Hinrich 0-3 2-3 2, Butler 5-8 3-3 13, Gibson 3-5 3-4 9, Hamilton 0-2 0-0 0, Mohammed 0-1 0-0 0, Robinson 8-12 0-0 17, Belinelli 3-8 6-7 13. Totals 36-76 15-22 89.

BROOKLYN (106): Wallace 5-7 3-5 14, Evans 2-3 1-2 5, Lopez 7-15 7-7 21, Williams 9-15 2-2 22, Johnson 7-13 0-0 16, Blatche 6-11 0-0 12, Stackhouse 0-3 0-0 0, Watson 6-8 1-1 14, Bogans 0-0 0-0 0, Humphries 1-2 0-0 2, Brooks 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor 0-0 0-0 0, Teletovic 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 43-77 14-17 106.

Chicago 14 21 27 27— 89

Brooklyn 25 35 29 17— 106

3-Point GoalsChicago 2-8 (Belinelli 1-1, Robinson 1-4, Hinrich 0-1, Deng 0-2), Brooklyn 6-14 (Williams 2-3, Johnson 2-5, Watson 1-1, Wallace 1-3, Stackhouse 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsChicago 42 (Boozer 8), Brooklyn 42 (Evans 13). AssistsChicago 15 (Boozer 4), Brooklyn 18 (Williams 7). Total FoulsChicago 17, Brooklyn 21. TechnicalsBrooklyn defensive three second. A17,732.

Anthony carries Knicks 04/20/13 [Last modified: Sunday, April 21, 2013 1:04am]

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