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Rapid Reaction: Knicks 114, Celtics 88

Rapid reaction after the New York Knicks defeated the Boston Celtics 114-88 on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden:

THE NITTY GRITTY

The Knicks extracted a measure of revenge for Boston's 41-point thrashing at MSG in December by absolutely throttling the Celtics on Tuesday. This one wasn't even as close as the score suggests. The Knicks scored 21 seconds in and never trailed while leading by as much as 35. The Celtics shot a ghastly 31.8 percent (14 of 44) over the first two quarters and mustered just 37 first-half points. Defense was the biggest issue as the Knicks got whatever they wanted, abusing Boston's pick-and-roll defense and generating an endless stream of backdoor cuts with the Celtics offering virtually no resistance. The Knicks shot 61.5 percent (24 of 39) in the first half. Carmelo Anthony scored a team-high 24 points to go along with 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals, and enjoyed a relaxing fourth quarter. Jeremy Tyler and J.R. Smith scored 17 points apiece off the bench for New York, which also got 16 from fellow reserve Tim Hardaway Jr. Jeff Green had a team-high 14 points, but on 4-of-13 shooting to go along with 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 turnovers. Rajon Rondo also had a rough shooting night, going 3-of-13 for seven points with five assists and four turnovers. Rondo was minus-24 in plus/minus (second worst on the team behind only Gerald Wallace at minus-27).

TURNING POINT

Iman Shumpert got an easy layup on New York's first possession ... and the Knicks really never looked back. Midway through the first quarter, Boston endured nearly a four-minute drought without a field goal in which New York embarked on 15-0 run to blow it open. THe Knicks led by 16 after one quarter and 26 at halftime. A Smith jumper with 4:31 to go in the third quarter had New York out front 80-45.

LOOSE BALLS

In his first game back after missing four with a sprained toe in his left foot, Jerryd Bayless scored 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting with four assists over 26:46. ... Chris Johnson, signed to his second 10-day contract on Tuesday, was one of Boston's few bright spots, scoring 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting over 22 minutes. ... All 13 players on Boston's active roster played, including Joel Anthony and Vander Blue logging three minutes of trash time to close out the game. ... The Celtics were 6-of-22 from beyond the 3-point arc; New York was 10 of 20.

WHAT IT MEANS

The Celtics (15-32) lost their third straight and tasted defeat for the 15th time in 17 games. There's a chance Boston could own the third-worst record in basketball after Wednesday night's visit from the Philadelphia 76ers to close out the back-to-back. The 76ers (14-31) are only percentage points ahead of Boston at the moment. The visit from Philly closes a head-shaking month of January (2-14 thus far) for Boston. The Celtics have three days off following Wednesday's game before hosting the Orlando Magic in a Super Bowl appetizer on Sunday.