Allen Heats Up in 4th to Lead Celtics Over Wizards

Paul Pierce had 21 points and eight rebounds for the Celtics (3-3), who pulled to .500 after losing their first three games of the season. Rookie Greg Stiemsma, making his first start, had 13 points and seven rebounds, and reserve Brandon Bass scored 12.

Andray Blatche led Wizards (0-5) with 28 points and nine rebounds, JaVale McGee had 17 points and 14 boards, and John Wall had 11 points. Head coach Flip Saunders didn’t see much of the game from the bench after he was ejected 1:46 into the contest.

Allen was 6 for 7 from beyond the 3-point line.

Boston beat the Wizards 94-86 in Washington on Sunday.

Celtics center Jermaine O’Neal was out with a tight left hamstring.

Allen’s fourth 3-pointer of the game, coming with 8:56 to play, pushed Boston ahead for good, 75-74. Bass then hit a foul-line jumper and, after a basket by the Wizards’ Nick Young, Rajon Rondo found Marquis Daniels cutting backdoor for a layup. He was fouled on the play and made the free throw, increasing it to 80-76.

Bass then nailed another jumper — this one from the right corner — and Rondo had a breakaway layup, increasing Boston’s lead to 84-76 with 6:21 to play.

The Wizards made one last run, closing it to 84-80 on Blatche’s three-point play, but Allen hit a jumper on the left wing and followed that 43 seconds later with a 3 from the right wing.

Allen’s third 3-pointer of the final quarter made it 95-87 with 1:30 to play.

Saunders was upset after Stiemsma blocked Rashard Lewis’ shot and knocked him to the floor as play continued. He got up off the bench and screamed at the officials to earn the first technical, then walked to midcourt still protesting to earn the second and an automatic ejection.

Washington led 70-69 after three quarters.

Neither team held more than an eight-point lead in the first half, and it changed eight times before the Wizards took a 48-47 advantage into halftime.

Notes: Boston coach Doc Rivers said he likes facing a team twice in a row. “I wish our league did it more. I’ve always said that,” he said before the game. “I think it builds competition.” … Wizards G Wall was whistled for a technical 4 minutes after Saunders. … Boston C/F Chris Wilcox returned after missing the previous three games with a bruised left shoulder. … Assistant Randy Wittman took over after Saunders was tossed.

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Knicks Beat Celtics as Season Gets Under Way

Carmelo Anthony was the top performer for New York, scoring 37 points as the Knicks ran out winners in an exciting opener to the shortened 66-game season.

The season was supposed to start last month but was almost cancelled because of a protracted labor dispute between players and team owners.

When they finally reached a new collective bargaining agreement, that was ratified on December 8, it was decided to start on Christmas Day, leaving teams just 17 days to get their rosters filled, get into brief training camps, have a couple of warm-ups and get ready for Sunday’s openers.

But the wrangling and disputes seemed long forgotten as the two Eastern Conference teams took to the court at Madison Square Garden in front of a lively crowd that included singer Alicia Keys and former tennis champion John McEnroe.

The Knicks were fastest out of the blocks taking a 34-23 lead at the end of the first quarter and leaving Celtics head coach Doc Rivers fuming at his team, telling them they were playing soft”.

Boston trailed 62-52 at half-time but piled on 35 points in the third quarter to lead by eight heading into the last period.

The Celtics had won their last eight games against the Knicks but New York, bolstered by the addition of center Tyston Chandler, fought back this time.

Anthony’s two free throws with 16.3 seconds left proved to be the game winners as Boston failed to score again, Marquis Daniels missing a three pointer from the side then Kevin Garnett missing a 16 footer at the buzzer.

Rajon Rondo was the top scorer for Boston with 31 points while Anthony scored 17 points in the last quarter for New York.

“We willed that win,” said Anthony, who joined the Knicks from Denver in February.

“It wasn’t easy, we knew it was going to be a battle. We got up early, Boston being the veteran team that they are, they came back and made some runs but we stuck with it and won it,” he said.

(Reporting by Simon Evans in Miami; Editing by Julian Linden)

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Stiemsma Scores Winner, Celtics Top Raptors 76-75

Ray Allen scored 12 points for the Celtics, while Kevin Garnett had nine points and seven rebounds. Marquis Daniels had 11 points for Boston.

Andrea Bargnani led Toronto with 16 points, DeMar DeRozan scored 14 points and Ed Davis had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Boston’s Rajon Rondo, who had been bothered by a sore right ankle, started for the Celtics and finished with a team-high eight assists in 28 minutes.

The Raptors trailed 61-51 to start the fourth but rallied after Allen and Garnett headed to the bench. Jose Calderon’s 3-pointer made it 70-67 with 4:30 left and, after a missed shot by Brandon Bass, DeRozan’s layup cut it to one at 70-69.

Consecutive jump shots by Celtics rookie E’Twaun Moore gave Boston a 74-71 lead with 1:19 remaining, but a jumper by Bargnani and a tip-in by Amir Johnson with 26 seconds left made it 75-74 in favor of Toronto.

Stiemsma rebounded Moore’s miss and, after failing to score his first attempt, tipped in the go-ahead basket on his second chance.

Bargnani tried to put back DeRozan’s miss at the buzzer but his shot didn’t fall.

Allen scored seven points in the second as the Celtics took a 40-33 lead at the half.

Toronto outrebounded Boston 39 to 35.

Boston was without forward Paul Pierce, sidelined by a bruised right heel, while Toronto guard Anthony Carter was absent with a sore right shoulder.

The teams meet again in Boston on Wednesday night.

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