Celtics Hold Off Knicks

Paul McCartney signs an autograph as he and his wife, Heather Mills McCartney, make their way through the airport in St.John's, Newfoundland, Canada, Wednesday, March 1, 2006 en route to Prince Edward Island. The couple were headed to the island to support the efforts of the Humane Society International and Respect for Animals, both of which are demanding the end of the annual seal hunt.

One night after a blocked shot kept the New York Knicks from coming back, Marcus Camby learned how painful that play was.

Tendinitis in his left knee limited him to less than six minutes Friday night when the Boston Celtics held off a late surge for an 80-74 win.

Camby said he was hurt Thursday night on a play in which Minnesota's Kevin Garnett blocked his shot with five seconds left in the Timberwolves' 93-90 win.

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  • "I felt I could play (Friday) but I just didn't have any lift in my legs," said Camby, who expects to play in New York's next game Sunday against Miami.

    The Knicks, already playing without injured center Patrick Ewing, became even less effective inside as they were outscored 30-18 in the paint. Antoine Walker's 22 points and Adrian Griffin's steal with 25 seconds left with Boston ahead 77-74 didn't help.

    "We did a wonderful job of man-to-man defense the whole game," Boston coach Rick Pitino said.

    "At the end, our shots weren't falling, but we played tough," said Walker after Boston was outscored 16-11 in the fourth quarter.

    Camby left the game with 6:19 left in the first quarter because he had picked up his second foul. But after going to the bench, trainer Mike Saunders told coach Jeff Van Gundy about the knee problem.

    "With Marcus not out there we lose a lot inside, but it was the same old story. We fought back. We just couldn't get over the hump," Latrell Sprewell said. "Their press was effective and it did make a difference, especially in the fourth quarter."

    Paul Pierce had 19 points and Griffin grabbed 15 rebounds for the Celtics, who never trailed as they ended a two-game losing streak. The Knicks were led by Allan Houston and Larry Johnson with 16 points each.

    Camby, watching from the bench, saw his teammates cut a 46-33 halftime deficit to 77-74 on a 14-footer by Kurt Thomas with 1:59 remaining.

    After two turnovers by Boston and two missed shots by New York, the Knicks had a chance to tie with a 3-pointer. But Griffin poked the ball out of bounds off Houston with 25 seconds left.

    "I know that I'm going to guard the toughest guy on the team," said Griffin, who spent the last three seasons in the CBA. "He was going up and I was coming down. Then he tried to recover and hit the ball out."

    "That late in the game, it's a 50-50 call by the refs," Houston said. "They could have called it a foul but they didn't."

    Vitaly Potapenko then missed two free throws for Boston with 24 seconds remaining. But New York wasted another chance when Sprewell missed a pair with 14 seconds to play.

    Potapenko was fouled again and this time he sank both shots for a 79-74 lead with 13 seconds left. Chris Childs then missed a 3-pointer for New York with 3.8 seconds to go, and Pierce finished the scoring with a free throw with two seconds left.

    Ewing, who hasn't played this season because of tendinitis in his left Achilles, watched in a suit from the New York bench. His absence had made more playing time for Camby, who responded with double-doubles in four of the Knicks' first six games.

    New York also played one night after traveling halfway across the country following the loss at Minnesota.

    The Celtics opened their 13-point halftime lead as the Knicks hit only 4 of 19 shots in the second quarter. And the score was 77-68 with four minutes left in the game before New York scored six straight points on two free throws each by Thomas and Johnson and Thomas' jumper that made it 77-74.


  • Kenny Anderson, limited by a hip pointer to 11 minutes in his last game, started and played 40 minutes, scoring 17 points for Boston.
  • The win was the Celtics' fourth in their last 24 games against the Knicks.
  • New York lost for the second straight night after opening the season at 4-1.
  • Boston outrebounded New York 28-14 in the first half and 49-38 in the game.

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