Boston cut a 75-49 deficit to four points, but Carmelo Anthony made a jumper to give New York an 81-75 lead and then sank a three-pointer, then J.R. Smith converted a three-point play to restore the double-digit lead the Knicks had nursed most of the game.
Anthony finished with 21 points for the Knicks, who won a playoff series for the first time since the Patrick Ewing era in 2000. They will host the Pacers in today’s opening game of their Conference semi-final series.
Jeff Green scored 21 points for the Celtics, and Iman Shumpert scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half for the Celtics, who now face another offseason of talk whether to break up the aging core that won the franchise’s record 17th NBA title in 2008 and returned to the finals two years later.
Indiana’s George Hill and David West each scored 21 points as the Pacers held off an Atlanta rally.
The home teams had won every game of this series until Friday. The Hawks set a franchise record worst by scoring just nine points in the second quarter on 1-of-15 shooting. The defense broke down in the third, allowing Hill and West to combine for 22 points, and the Pacers built a 65-50 lead going to the fourth.
The Hawks showed some heart, slicing it to 76-73 with 2:13 remaining, but the comeback fizzled there.
Roy Hibbert added 17 points and 11 rebounds. Lance Stephenson also had 11 rebounds.