Rapid Reaction: Celtics 109, Knicks 98

Recap | Box score

WHAT IT MEANS: Déjà vu from Friday night against the Raptors. After putting in three solid quarters of work, on both ends of the floor, the Knicks collapsed defensively in the fourth quarter -- and relied too much on 3-point shooting. The Celtics went on a 20-4 run to start the final period, and the Knicks lost by nine.

Of course, it would've helped if Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd played. They all sat out to rest, avoiding the back-to-back.

POSITIVE POINTS: 1. While the Knicks' core was saying in the offseason how much they were looking forward to their first full training camp together, it's probably most benefited Chris Copeland to prove to the team he warrants a guaranteed roster spot. Tonight, he finished with a game-high 34 points off the bench, scoring in a variety of ways (off the pick-and-roll, catch-and-shoot and fast break). Woodson favors veterans, and Copeland basically is one at 28 years old. He's a tough, aggressive and confident player, enhanced playing overseas against top club competition.

2. Consistency at point guard. Raymond Felton kicked things into high gear in the first quarter, running the pick-and-roll well and distributing the ball all over the court. Through the first six minutes, he had four assists and no turnovers. The Knicks demonstrated good spacing and ball movement, which was initiated from Felton's efficient playmaking. There was no drop-off when Pablo Prigioni checked into the game. Both Felton (seven assists) and Prigioni (nine assists) were basically flawless all night -- and Kidd didn't even play.

3. Prigioni's leadership. Even though it's the preseason, he has been treating every second of action like it's an elimination playoff game. He's playing hard, directing on defense (by pointing to approaching screens and communicating on the help side) and going up to guys during timeouts giving them pointers. He excels with his IQ, not giving up his dribble too soon and his deceivingly quick dribble getting by defenders. He's also extremely confident and has got some swagger, at one point getting in Jason Terry's face in the fourth quarter and saying some words.

4. Steve Novak (5-for-9 from 3-point range) and James White (five steals) also impressed tonight.

TO THE FILM SESSION: Defense. For the second straight night, the Knicks broke down making stops in the fourth quarter, not getting back on D quick enough and slipping behind the pick-and-roll. The Raptors had their way in transition and from downtown in the fourth quarter on Friday, and so did the Celtics on Saturday.

THE HOPEFULS: Henry Sims, John Shurna, Oscar Bellfield and Mychel Thompson all played tonight. Sims, who started at center, stood out the most with his good hands and strong moves down low.

INJURY REPORT: J.R. Smith (sore left Achilles), Marcus Camby (left calf strain) and Rasheed Wallace (conditioning) didn't play. Ronnie Brewer has recovered from his left medial meniscus tear and could play this week.

WHAT'S NEXT: On Monday, Anthony returns to Syracuse to take on the Sixers at 7 p.m. ET inside the Carrier Dome. Melo led the Orangemen to the 2003 NCAA championship.

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