NEW YORK – This one was so easy for the New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony only needed to play 28 minutes.
That left plenty of energy for pitching books and swatting away free agency questions.
Anthony had 24 points and nine rebounds, and the Knicks avenged an embarrassing home loss with a rout of their own, beating the Boston Celtics 114-88 on Tuesday night for their third straight victory.
Ex-Tokyo Apache big man Jeremy Tyler, the only player in bj-league history to be drafted from the upstart circuit into the NBA, added a career-high 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting in 23 minutes and fellow reserve J.R. Smith also scored 17 for the Knicks, who lost by 41 the last time the Celtics came to Madison Square Garden but led this one by 35.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Tyler admitted it “means a lot” for him to make a strong impact and play major minutes after seeing little playing time (averaging 7.0 minutes entering the game since joining the Knicks earlier this month).
“I’ve been on such a crazy roller coaster throughout my career so far, and it feels great to finally get an opportunity to to play and maximize the time that I’m given, and just working on my game and getting better every day,” said Tyler, who skipped his senior year of high school and began his pro career in Israel as a teenager and alternated time between the NBA (Warriors, Hawks) and the NBA Development League since he was a second-round 2011 NBA Draft pick.
Did he ever have any doubts he could be a solid contributor in the NBA?
“I was confident that I would (make it to the NBA),” Tyler told reporters. “I knew I had some ups and downs and a lot of learning to do. . . . I came in young, I had a lot of things coming at me, and I just told myself to stay positive and take every situation and every setback as a comeback.”
New York evened its record at 3-3 on its eight-game homestand, with games remaining against Cleveland on Thursday and Miami on Saturday.
The Knicks are headed in the right direction again since ending a five-game losing streak Friday behind Anthony’s 62 points, and are only a half-game out of the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot despite their 18-27 record.
Jeff Green scored 14 points on 4-of-13 shooting for the Celtics, who have lost three straight and six of seven.
New York led 31-15 after one and opened a 45-20 bulge when Tyson Chandler threw down an alley-oop pass from Smith midway through the second. Boston trailed 63-37 at halftime.
Grizzlies 98, Trail Blazers 81
In Portland, Zach Randolph scored 23 points and had 10 rebounds and Mike Conley added 19 points and seven assists to lead Memphis past the hosts.
Rockets 97, Spurs 90
In Houston, Dwight Howard scored 23 points and Terrence Jones had 21 as the Rockets held on for a win over San Antonio.
Boris Diaw scored a season-high 22 points for the Spurs, and also had 11 rebounds.
Pacers 104, Lakers 92
In Los Angeles, David West scored 19 points, Lance Stephenson had 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Indiana wrapped up a five-game road trip with a victory over the spiraling Lakers.
Pau Gasol had 21 points and 13 boards for Los Angeles, which returned from a two-week road trip for its 17th loss in 20 games.
Pelicans 100, Cavaliers 89
In Cleveland, Anthony Davis scored 30 points with eight blocks and seven rebounds and Eric Gordon scored 20 to lead New Orleans.
Pistons 103, Magic 87
In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Andre Drummond had 13 points and 17 boards as Detroit snapped a four-game losing streak.
Wizards 88, Warriors 85
In Oakland, Bradley Beal scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half, and John Wall had 15 points and eight rebounds to lead Washington past Golden State.
The Warriors’ Stephen Curry scored 23 points before missing a contested left-handed 3 as time expired.