NEW YORK -- Rapid Reaction after the Boston Celtics
defeated destroyed the New York Knicks 114-73 on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden:
THE NITTY GRITTY
Jordan Crawford scored a team-high 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting (connecting on six 3-pointers) while Jared Sullinger added 21 points on efficient 9-of-13 shooting and was a team-best plus-43 in plus/minus. Avery Bradley added his first career double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds), while Jeff Green and Brandon Bass kicked in 16 points apiece as the first-place Celtics cruised. Carmelo Anthony scored a team-high 19 points for the Knicks, but was a team-worst minus-40 in plus/minus. Just check out the final box score for the full carnage.
The Celtics scored the game's first 12 points and 18 of the first 19 before New York generated its first field goal (an Anthony dunk with 5:45 to play in the frame). Boston pushed its lead as high as 25 before the end of the quarter and led 34-11 after 12 minutes. Boston shot 54.5 percent in the frame, including 71.4 percent beyond the 3-point arc (5 of 7 overall). The Knicks didn't even score five first-quarter field goals, finishing 4-of-18 shooting (22.2 percent) with four turnovers. Things only got worse from there for the hosts.
Typically mild-mannered Bass got tagged with a rare technical foul late in the third quarter after barking at an official for no whistle as he muscled in a putback in traffic. The Boston bench couldn't help but chuckle. The Celtics were up 37 at that point.
Courtney Lee had an excellent game off the bench, scoring 10 points over 19:36. ... MarShon Brooks played the final six minutes, scoring six points. ... Keith Bogans was a healthy DNP. ... On the first possession after checking in for the first time, Amare Stoudemire got whistled for a technical for poking Brandon Bass in the face on a shot attempt.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (10-12) have won three straight and now own a two-game lead in the Atlantic Division (pending how the Raptors fare against a returning Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers). This one was never close. Boston now heads across the city to dance with old friend Kevin Garnett and the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night.