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Garnett, Rondo help Celtics finish off Knicks in four

- Associated Press - Sunday, April 24, 2011

NEW YORK | Kevin Garnett had 26 points and 10 rebounds, Rajon Rondo added 21 points and 12 assists, and the Boston Celtics swept their way into the Eastern Conference semifinals, holding on for a 101-89 victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday.

Ray Allen and reserve Glen Davis each added 14 points for the Celtics, the first team into the second round after sweeping a series for the first time since a 3-0 victory over Indiana in 1992, the last series victory for their old Big Three before Larry Bird retired.

They're 23-point lead was cut to four in the fourth quarter, but Boston pulled away again behind Garnett, who scored 20 after halftime.

The current Big Three of Garnett, Allen and Paul Pierce twice was extended to seven games in the first round, but this one was far easier than expected against the injury-weakened Knicks. The Celtics could now have a week off while they wait for likely second-round opponent Miami, which was forced to a fifth game earlier Sunday after a late rally by Philadelphia.

Carmelo Anthony had 32 points and nine rebounds, and Amar'e Stoudemire, who decided to play after his back felt better, finished with 19 points and 12 boards but shot only 5 of 20 from the field.

The Knicks shot 34 percent and were quickly dispatched in their first playoff appearance since 2004, when they were also swept in the first round. They haven't won a playoff game in 10 years.

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