Knicks Win Back-to-Back Games, Clinch Playoff Spot
In a key game against the Boston Celtics Tuesday night, the New York Knicks came out ahead, 118-110.
Carmelo Anthony starred for the Knicks in this high-scoring affair, notching his second career triple-double with 35 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. J.R. Smith and Steve Novak added 25 points apiece off the bench, and Tyson Chandler contributed 20.
Powered by those four big scorers, New York took a big lead in the first half and held on to win despite the Celtics' 31-point surge in the third quarter. The Knicks combined to hit 19 three-point shots, just four shy of the NBA record.
Anthony again led his team to victory on the road in New Jersey the next night. Thanks in large part to his 21 first-quarter points, the Knicks took an early lead and never let up, winning 104-95. Chandler and Smith added 18 and 15 points respectively.
After the back-to-back wins and a Milwaukee Bucks losing streak, the Knicks clinched a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They hope to keep rolling through the season's final four games, beginning with Friday night's contest in Cleveland.
Rangers Fall to Senators, Series Evens at Two
In their second road game of the NHL playoffs, the New York Rangers lost 3-2 in overtime to the Ottawa Senators.
New York's Anton Stralman scored less than a minute into the game to give his team a quick lead. The Rangers made it 2-0 thanks to Ryan Callahan's score later in the period; Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards recorded assists on both goals.
The Senators came all the way back, though, scoring twice in the second period to even the game at two. Less than three minutes into overtime, Ottawa's Kyle Turris snapped a shot past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to give the Senators their second win of the series.
Although the Rangers would have certainly liked to return to Madison Square Garden up 3-1, they still enjoy home-ice advantage for the rest of the series. Game Four will begin Saturday at 7 PM.
Mets Lose Final Two Contests to Braves
The New York Mets hit a speed bump in their strong start to the 2012 season this week, losing the final two contests of a three-game series in Atlanta.
Mets left-hander Johan Santana ran into early trouble in his third start of the season, giving up six runs in the first two innings of Tuesday's contest. He recorded just four outs on the night, easily the shortest start of his 12-year Major League career.
The Mets rallied for three runs later in the game, but the Braves also plated three against the New York bullpen to secure the 9-3 victory.
Knuckleball specialist R.A. Dickey took the ball for the Mets on a rainy Wednesday afternoon. Perhaps impeded by the conditions, the right-hander had his worst outing of the season, struggling through 4.1 innings and giving up eight earned runs.
Although the Mets managed to score six runs on 14 hits, they couldn't match the Braves' 14-run outburst. Among the top performers for New York was third baseman David Wright, who drove in three runs on Wednesday to tie Darryl Strawberry for the club RBI record.
After two short outings from their starting pitchers, the Mets (7-5) mercifully had an off-day Thursday. They will return to Citi Field Friday night for the first of four games against the San Francisco Giants.
Yankees Split Series vs. Twins
The Yankees completed a back-and-forth series against the Minnesota Twins this week, dropping the first and third games but winning the second and fourth.
Tuesday night, the Yankees' bats came alive and chased Twins starter Francisco Liriano from the game in the third inning. Meanwhile, left-hander CC Sabathia ran into some early trouble, but settled in to hold the Twins to three runs over 7.1 innings for his first win of the season.
On Wednesday, it was the Yankees starter who found himself out of the game early, as the Twins rallied for six runs against right-hander Hiroki Kuroda. Twins starter Jason Marquis didn't fare much better, giving up four in five innings, but it was enough to give the wins a 6-4 advantage.
Derek Jeter made some noise with a ninth-inning home run, his fourth of the season, but Twins closer Matt Capps induced a fly ball out from Mark Teixeira to end the game.
In the series' final game on Thursday, center fielder Curtis Granderson powered the Yankees to victory with three home runs. He became the first player to hit three homers in a game at the new Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees (7-6) will travel to Boston Friday afternoon to face the rival Red Sox for the first of 18 contests this season.
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