Celtics shut down Anthony at the end

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Celtics shut down Anthony at the end

BOSTON New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony was a one-man show in carrying the Knicks past the Boston Celtics when the two met on Christmas Day.

And he did it with a slew of clutch baskets in the fourth quarter, with very little help-defense being offered up or provided by the Celtics players.

Boston didn't make the same mistake on Friday night, sending waves of defenders at Anthony in the fourth, which left him no choice but to pass to less-prolific scorers.

The Celtics' plan worked, as they held on for a 91-89 win and go two games over .500 (12-10) for the first time all season.

Anthony finished with a team-high 26 points, but only two of those points came in the fourth quarter.

"We didn't want a repeat of what happened last game," said Boston's Chris Wilcox, referring to how Anthony scored 17 of his game-high 37 points in the Knicks' 106-104 Christmas Day win. "We went and pressured him and got the ball out of his hands and make somebody else make plays."

Which for New York, was the problem.

Anthony, who is known for being a bit ball-hoggish from time to time - OK, a lot of the time - did exactly what he was supposed to do when facing a double and triple team - pass the ball.

"I told my teammates, 'Every time I catch it, the Celtics are sending two, three guys at me; just be open. I'll find you',"said Anthony, who missed four of his five fourth-quarter shots.

He found rookie Iman Shumpert open for an open 3-pointer with less than a minute to play.

Shumpert missed it . . . badly.

Anthony spotted Landry Fields open a few seconds later, and he, too, missed.

It was that kind of night for Anthony and the Knicks (8-15) who have now lost 11 of their last 13 games.

"The only thing I can do when someone double- or triple-teams me is to find the open man," he said. "That's what I did."

And his teammates responded just how the C's anticipated.

"It's important to learn, and apply your lessons," said Kevin Garnett. "Tonight we did a good job of controlling him, making other guys beat us; putting other guys in position to beat us. And they're not really in position to do that. They really key in on Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemireto lead them. When you control those two a little bit, you sort of control their team."

Fully healthy Celtics prepare for Giannis Antetokounmpo

Fully healthy Celtics prepare for Giannis Antetokounmpo

BOSTON – Brad Stevens began his pre-game press conference with a seldom-used proclamation. 

“Everyone’s available,” he said. “Doesn’t happen very often.”

Jonas Jerebko, who did fully participate in the team’s practice on Tuesday due to a sore left knee, was questionable for tonight’s game. His availability can only help the Celtics in tonight’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks, one of the hottest teams in the NBA. 

The Bucks (38-36) have won 12 of their last 15 games which includes a 118-108 win at Charlotte on Tuesday. 

Tony Snell lit up the Hornets for a career-high 26 points. Rookie Malcolm Brogdon had a double-double of 14 points and 10 assists. 

And then there’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, a matchup nightmare who had 20 points and eight rebounds.

“He does some things,” Stevens said. “That’s the best way to say it. He keeps adding to it. Him in transition is like, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody like him.”

Indeed, the Greek Freak has been a vital cog in Milwaukee’s resurgence from a team bound for the lottery (again), to one that could potentially wind up as the fifth seed in the East. 

“As he’s become more skilled,” Stevens said. “He continues to put you in a worst bind. He’s tough; he’s good.”

Celtics guard Avery Bradley said there’s a long laundry list of things Boston must do tonight to emerge victorious. At the top of that has to be finding ways to attack Milwaukee’s length which stands out in a league full of lanky, long-armed players.

“Ball movement, getting the ball to the next side, not letting them load up their defense, shot fakes, drawing fouls … I can go down the list,” Bradley said. “But the most important thing is moving the ball; making them defend side to side, making them have to guard us so they’re not in position to block shots or make shots tough on us.” 

Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

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Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

Rick Porcello and Drew Pomeranz combined to allow all five of the Red Sox' runs in Boston's 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Porcello finished his start by fanning four, allowing four hits and earning two runs over four innings. Pomeranz followed in the next four innings with four strikeouts, five hits allowed and three earned runs. Pomeranz allowed ByungHo Park's eighth-inning, two-run homer, which ended up being the game-winner.

Porcello, however, was optimistic after the loss.

"The buildup was good," Porcello told reporters, via RedSox.com. "Today I felt as good as I've felt all spring. At this point, I'm ready to go. I'm looking forward to the start of the season."

While the Sox offense was able to get three runs off Ervin Santana in his 4 2/3 innings, they struggled against the Twins' next five pitchers. Xander Bogaerts (2 of 3) and Pablo Sandoval (1 of 3) managed homers. Hanley (3 of 3) Ramirez had a double, and Dustin Pedroia (2 of 3) had two singles.

Kyle Kendrick will start Thursday in the Sox' final Spring Training series against the Washington Nationals. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. ET.