Melo helps Knicks take 2-0 lead vs Celtics

The New York Knicks are heading to Boston, then perhaps finally back to the second round.

The once-mighty Celtics don’t seem capable of stopping them.

Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points, Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith added 19, and New York opened a 2-0 lead over Boston with another dominant second half in an 87-71 victory on Tuesday night.

Raymond Felton added 16 points for the Knicks, who used a 27-4 run spanning halftime to blow it open and move halfway to their first series victory since the 2000 Eastern Conference semifinals. This is their first 2-0 lead since sweeping Toronto in the first round that year.

”For us, we know what type of team we are,” Anthony said. ”We know when we really buckle down on the defensive end, it’s been hard for teams.”

It’s been brutally difficult for Boston.

Paul Pierce scored 18 points for the Celtics, who will host Game 3 on Friday in their first home game since the Boston Marathon bombings.

They will have to be much sharper to avoid their first opening-round elimination since 2005, before they became one of the NBA’s power teams again.

”We have to figure out the offensive side of the ball and not be so stagnated,” Boston’s Kevin Garnett said. ”Figure out ways to score more often.”

Garnett had 12 points and 11 rebounds, but battled foul trouble and spent too much time walking back to the bench with a raucous Madison Square Garden crowd finally experiencing playoff success again hounding him every step of the way.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press