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Knicks push Celtics towards elimination, Nets try to even series with Bulls

The New York Knicks pushed Atlantic division rivals the Boston Celtics near elimination on Friday night with a convincing 90-76 victory that puts the Knicks up 3-0 in their best of seven first round playoff series in the Eastern Conference. New York started early and built a lead that by halftime was by 16.

In the other series involving a team from the Atlantic division, the Brooklyn Nets trail the Chicago Bulls 2-1 with their next game Saturday afternoon in Chicago.

No team has returned from a 3-0 deficit in a best of seven series to win and the Knicks do not want to allow the Celtics to become the first.

In the third game, Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks in scoring with 26 points. With one more win, the Knicks will win their first playoff series in nearly 13 years.

The Knicks have not won a playoff series since 2000 when they reached the finals of the Eastern Conference. On Sunday, the Knicks could sweep the series with a win in Boston.

New York might have to play without the services of J.R. Smith, their sixth man, who hit Jason Terry in the face with an elbow and was given a flagrant foul two, which is an automatic ejection. The NBA office will review the video of what happened and could fine or even suspend Smith.

Boston’s offense has been missing through the first three games of the series and the 31 points in the first half that Boston scored is evidence of just that. In their two losses in New York, the Celtics offense was held to just 25 and 23 points in the second half of games 1 and 2 respectively.

With the win, the Knicks are now 6-1 against Boston in the regular season and through three games in the playoffs.

The Knicks have not swept a series that was best of seven since 1999 when they defeated the Atlanta Hawks in four straight games in the semifinals of the Eastern Conference.

In the Nets and Bulls series, the Nets started strong and won game one, but the Bulls have roared back to take home court advantage with a win in game two in Brooklyn and a win in Chicago in game three.

The tough defense of the Bulls raised its head in game two holding the Nets to just 76 points in the game.

Chicago was not able to score a single field goal over the last 5:46 of the fourth quarter in game three nevertheless, they held on to win and will put the Nets on the brink of elimination with a victory Saturday afternoon at home.

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