The Celtics will try to continue that success Tuesday night when they start a two-game division trip against the New York Knicks.
Boston (48-28) is 21-1 in road games against division foes since Garnett and Allen came on board for the 2007-08 season, with the lone defeat a 100-88 loss to New York (27-49) on Jan. 4, 2009. Since that contest, the Celtics have won 12 in a row on the road against Atlantic foes.
Boston, which is 3-0 against the Knicks and visit Toronto on Wednesday, is tuning up for the postseason and trails Atlanta by one game in the race for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Celtics avoided a season-high fourth straight loss Sunday with a 117-113 victory over league-best Cleveland despite blowing a 22-point lead. Allen scored a season-high 33 points after being held to five and fouling out for the first time in a 119-114 overtime loss to Houston on Friday.
“I knew he was going to have a bounce-back game,” forward Paul Pierce(notes) said. “You know the good thing about this game is that we stay together. Ray realized he didn’t play well the last game or really didn’t play at all.”
“We needed this game,” Garnett said. “I really felt like as of late, we had this three-game slide. It’s not our character. That’s definitely not sitting well with anybody in our locker room.”
The spirited game featured six technical fouls, including one each for Rasheed Wallace(notes) and Rondo, who had 14 assists. The Celtics were glad to break the losing streak, but not with how they finished.
“We’re happy with the win, but we’re not happy with the way that we played in the fourth quarter,” Pierce said. “If we’re going to move forward in the rest of the season, if we’re going to advance in the playoffs, then we’ve got to learn a lesson from this and stay aggressive.”
Celtics coach Doc Rivers has altered his rotation to give Michael Finley(notes) and Tony Allen(notes) the bulk of the backcourt minutes off the bench instead of Nate Robinson(notes) and Marquis Daniels(notes).
Robinson did not play Sunday for the first time in 22 games since Boston acquired him from New York on Feb. 18. It’s unclear whether he will see action in his return to Madison Square Garden, where he was a fan favorite but repeatedly clashed with Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni and previous coach Larry Brown.
New York avoided going winless on a five-game road swing by defeating the Los Angeles Clippers 113-107 on Sunday.